Physicists study matter - all of the "stuff" in the universe and how that "stuff" moves. One of the most famous physicists of all time was Sir Isaac Newton. Sir Isaac is most famous for explaining gravity, a concept we are so familiar with now it seems obvious to us. He is also famous for explaining how stuff moves, his Three Laws of Motion. Today we are going to look at Newton's First Law of Motion called Inertia.
Newton's First Law of Motion (Inertia): A still object will stay still unless a force pushes or pulls it. A moving object will stay moving unless a force pushes or pulls it.
Gravity and friction are forces that constantly push and pull the "stuff" on earth. So, when we roll a ball, it slowly comes to a stop. On the moon, where there is less gravity and friction, "stuff" floats, and keeps floating.
You can try two Inertia Experiments at home:
For The Tablecloth Trick You Will Need:
The items on the tablecloth - the drinking glasses full of water and the plate - are not moving. According to Newton's law they should stay still unless a force pushes or pulls them. When you pull the tablecloth out from under them friction is a force that causes the plate to move just a little, but since the cloth is slippery it pulls right out, leaving the plate and glasses full of water in place.
For The Egg Drop You Will Need:
In The Egg Drop the egg is not in motion, it is at rest. According to Newton's law it should stay that way. When you slap the pan away you apply force to the pan and it moves, knocking out the toilet paper tube also, but you did not hit the egg so it stays in place. It DOES drop though, since the support of the toilet paper tube is gone gravity acts on the egg and pulls it toward the earth.
Science in Context: Newton’s First Law of Motion (Inertia) is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home. Login using your IndyPL library card number. The Science in Context database will show you articles, images and videos to help you learn about Newton’s First Law.
You can ask a math and science expert for homework help by calling the Ask Rose Homework Hotline. They provide FREE math and science homework help to Indiana students in grades 6-12.
Use your indyPL Library Card to check out books at any of our locations, or check out e-books and e-audiobooks from home right to your device. Click on a book jacket below to request a book or download it. Need help? Call or ask a Library staff member at any of our locations or text a librarian at 317 333-6877.