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Students Make their Own Newton’s Cradle

Students Make their Own Newton’s Cradle

Have you ever owned a Newton’s cradle or watched its mesmerising rhythm? The Year 10 Physics class made their own this week. Here’s what some of the girls had to say about the project:

How does Newton’s cradle work?

Newton’s cradle demonstrates the laws of conservation of momentum and energy. This law states that when two objects collide, the total momentum of the objects before the collision is equal to the total momentum of the objects after the collision. Abbey Young

It works by the momentum of the swinging ball colliding with the neighbouring ball and transferring its force which causes the end ball to swing up and back down. This results in the swinging effect of the balls, or marbles in our experiment. Ella Connell

What was the most important feature when you made the Newton’s cradle?

One important feature of the Newton’s cradle was making sure we built a solid structure. This was important because the structure needed to be stable to ensure the cradle worked. Abbey Young 

What did you find difficult when making the Newton’s cradle and how did you overcome those difficulties?

I found it difficult to line up the marbles to make sure they would swing properly. This was because I had to hold the fishing line in the right position and then ask a friend to hot glue the fishing line while making sure one side didn’t slip. This could cause the marbles to become wonky. I overcame this challenge by working with my group of friends and helping each other out with hot gluing. Ella Connell

The most difficult thing about making the cradle was making sure the marbles were aligned evenly so the maximum force was achieved and making sure that the glue was strong enough to bond the marble to the string. We overcame these difficulties by working together, with one person holding the marble and placing it onto the pop sticks and another person placing the glue on the marble. To make sure that each marble was aligned, we made even markings, so we knew exactly where to place the string. Ella Taranto

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