This experiment started out as a Science Photo Challenge and got such a great response that I wanted you to experiment with it yourself. It is a wonderful physic puzzle, and offers interesting insights into the science of force and motion.
To try this, you will need:
a paper plate
a marble or other small ball
Lets start with the question from the Science Photo.
This experiment is one that has been "cooking" in my mind for a while now. Today I had carpets on my mind, since I was cleaning them with our new carpet cleaner. We live at the beach, and our carpets tend to get dirty and sandy, so we place small rugs along the pathway that gets the most use. One problem is that the rugs don't stay there. They slowly migrate across the room. How can this happen? Is the cat doing it to drive us crazy? (She would if she thought it would work!) No, the cat is not involved. The movement is due to the interaction between the carpet and the rugs.
I recently presented a session on teaching electricity at the Utah Science Teachers Association Conference. On my way home, I did quite a bit of photography of the snowy landscape, but one roadside slope caught my eye. Driving past, I saw something that I had only seen in books, and a few recent weather articles. Snow rollers! They are usually quite rare, and of the hundreds of snowy road cuts that I passed on the drive home, this was the only one that had them.
I have taught several classes on Amusement Park Physics, and I usually include several activities on the carnival type games. Those games often use science, making something look simple and easy, when it is actually difficult to do. This activity is based on a carnival game where you try to swing a weight on a string and knock over a bottle.