At home for 5-11 11-14
What you need
- Walking toy or object that will slide
- About 50 cm of string
- Rubber band
- A small lightweight bag
- Paper clips and binder clips
- Fix a rubber band round the object and tie the string to it
- Put it on a smooth table and attach a small bag to the end weighted down with paperclips and binder clips to make a small weight
- With the object about 30 cm from the table edge, try out different weights until it will start to slide if you give it a gentle push
Results and Explanation
When you push the object, it will slide till it reaches the edge of the table, then stop. If you're using a walking toy, it should stop walking at the edge.
The force on the toy from the weight acts sideways and downwards, so the string is pulled diagonally, but only the sideways part of it keeps the toy moving forward. As it nears the table edge, the angle of the string changes until there is no part of the force moving the toy forward, so it stops. Some walking toys come with a weight attached, which is why they stop.
These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision or direction is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk.