Reflection: Complex Tasks Newton's 1st Law: Coin Activity (Inertia) - Newton's Law Expo (1 of 9) - Section 3: Student Activity


When it comes to planning an activity that exemplifies Newton's Law, care must be taken. Often times an activity can introduce a misconception, specifically with Newton's 1st Law, due to air resistance. This specific activity shows how inertia (an object's resistance to change) can be demonstrated. The coins stacked on the card resist the change of the moving index card, thus the coins have inertia. I have found that sometimes the cards can be flicked with an index finger or pulled rapidly with a jerk of the hand.

I often explain inertia using a example about dress code. If the dress code at our school was suddenly changed to be more strict, than my eight graders would resist the change in dress code. Dress code is a "hot-button" topic at my school, so this is a good analogy to use. Just like the students would resist a change in the dress code, so does matter resist change. Matter resists opposing forces based upon the amount of mass an object has (inertia).

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Newton's 1st Law: Coin Activity (Inertia) - Newton's Law Expo (1 of 9)

Unit 6: Forces
Lesson 1 of 12

Objective: Students will be able to test Newton's 1st Law of Motion using coins, flash cards, and a cup.

Big Idea: Newton's Law are learned through direct experience.

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