Marbles, Inertia, and Paper Plates

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
  • scissors
  • a marble or other small ball

Lets start with the question from the Science Photo.

Creeping Carpets

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.

Catching Money

This experiment is one that I was reminded of while presenting a teacher workshop on hands-on science in the classroom. We were going over some of the easy, spur of the moment things that you can do for science, and one of the teachers reminded me of this one. It is fun and a bit amazing too.

Whistle Stick

This experiment is a trick that my Grandfather taught me when I was very young. He called it a "whistle stick", and making one brought back delightful memories from my childhood. This experiment requires the use of a sharp knife, so if you are young, you may need adult assistance. It is not difficult, but even adults should keep safety in mind.

Snow Rollers

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.