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The Penny Dive

What you’ll learn: This activity is a great introduction to Newton’s first law and the power of gravity.

What you need:

LincolnDive1

  • Stiff paper
  • A penny
  • A film canister or similar sized container (with a mouth slightly larger than a penny)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape

What to do:

  • Cut the paper into a strip about 2cm wide and form it into a hoop about 8 – 10 cm across
  • Tape the ends together to close the loop
  • Fill the film canister with water and place it on a level surface
  • Place the hoop on the film canister and balance a penny on top of the hoop
  • Place a pencil through the centre of the hoop and quickly fling the hoop off to the side
  • Watch the penny dive!

After the show:

  • Explain about Newton’s first law (an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force).
  • Explain that the energy of your movement with the pencil was passed on to the hoop, but that there was not enough friction to pass the energy along to the penny.
  • Ask why the penny fell. Discuss gravity (what causes gravity? why is gravity important?)

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