Reflection: Staircase of Complexity Newton's 3rd Law: Skateboard Activity - Newton's Laws Expo (8 of 9) - Section 3: Student Activity


As part of this activity, I talk to the kids about how rocket engines work. If a rocket shoots particles in one direction the rocket travels in the opposite direction (action equals reaction - Newton's 3rd Law). It doesn't matter what the rocket expels.

In this case, the student on the skateboard is the rocket and the medicine ball is the engine. The reacting movement (student moving backwards) is based on the acceleration of the initial medicine ball throw (acceleration = force of the throw divided by the mass of the medicine ball - Newton's 2nd Law). You could also include Newton's 2nd Law if you wish to add to the complexity of the demonstration.

To further emphasize Newton's 3rd Law, I allow the group to play catch with the medicine ball. Every throw and catch moves the student on the skateboard backwards, showing every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Be careful - I once had a student complain of bruised ribs after catching an overzealous throw.

  Pulling the 'student learning' from this activity.
  Staircase of Complexity: Pulling the 'student learning' from this activity.
Loading resource...

Newton's 3rd Law: Skateboard Activity - Newton's Laws Expo (8 of 9)

Unit 6: Forces
Lesson 8 of 12

Objective: Students will be able to use a skateboard and a large mass to experiment with Newton's 3rd Law.

Big Idea: When you toss a medicine ball it causes an equal and opposite force that is normally never observed. However, do it while on a skateboard and Newton's 3rd Law can be seen.

  Print Lesson
14 teachers like this lesson
8 skateboard activity cover photo
Similar Lessons
Absolute Zero
8th Grade Science » Effects of Heat Energy Transfers on Earth's Atmosphere
Big Idea: Students build on their understanding of measuring heat with this investigation into what we mean by absolute zero.
Brookline, MA
Environment: Urban
Ryan Keser
Newton's Second and Third Laws of Motion: Bumper Boats Investigation
6th Grade Science » Forces and Motion
Big Idea: Collisions of "bumper boats" are a fun way to explore Newton's 2nd and 3rd Laws.
Boulder, CO
Environment: Suburban
Erin Greenwood
All New-Tons Of Fun Lab Stations: Day 1
7th Grade Science » Forces and Motion: All New-Tons of Fun!
Big Idea: Want to get your students excited about literacy? This lesson provides an exciting context to work on scientific reading, writing, speaking, and designing. Students complete fun labs and discussion protocols with Gaussian Guns and Mystery Crashes!
Saline, MI
Environment: Suburban
Leigh Roehm
Something went wrong. See details for more info
Nothing to upload