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How to Make a Simple Newton’s Cradle Science Experiment

Learn how energy is transfered from one object to another in this newton’s cradle activity. For this physics experiments for kids, you will make a newton’s pendulum to explore how what happens when two objects colide. This newton cradle project is fun for all ages from preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th grade students. With a few simple materials I will show you how to make a newton’s cradle; this is a SUPER cool and easy science experiment.

Learn how energy is transfered from one object to another in this newton's cradle activity. For this physics experiments for kids, you will make a newton's pendulum to explore how what happens when two objects colide. This newton cradle project is fun for all ages from preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th grade students. With a few simple materials I will show you how to make a newton's cradle; this is a SUPER cool and easy science experiment.

Newton’s Cradle

A Newton’s Cradle is a classic physics demonstration that is frequently seen in science museums or as a desk decoration. This Newton’s cradle project demonstrates the conservation of energy and momentum when the balls collide. While the idea of doing a physics science project with your kids probably sounds super complicated, don’t worry – it’s not! This simple newton’s pendulum uses common objects to replicate this cradle of energy and observe how energy is transfered from one object to another. Try this how to make a Newton’s Cradle with preschoolers, kindergartners, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, and grade 4 students.

Newtons Cradle Project

How to Make a Newton’s Cradle

All you need to try this physics experiment are a few simple materials including:

  • 5 bouncy balls
  • 5 pushpins
  • thread
  • 4 identical bottles at least 8″ tall
  • 4 bamboo skewers
  • ruler
  • tape

physics experiment for kids

Newtons Cradle Project

Carefully stick a pushpin into each of the bouncy balls. Now cut FIVE 17-inch long pieces of thread. Tie the center of one thread around the pushpin in the bouncy ball.  Repeat with all 5 bouncy balls.

newton cradle pendulum

Newton cradle pendulum

Make sure all bottles are filled with liquid and have their cap securely in place.  Place bottles at four corners of a rectangle that is 6 inches wide and 10 inches long. Set bamboo skewers across the bottles to form a rectangle. The shorter side wil have some of the stick hanging off on both ends. Now tape the skewers to the lids of the bottles to hod them in place.

swinging balls pendulum

Swinging balls pendulum

Tie the ends of the bouncy ball’s thread on opposite long side skewers makign sure that each ball hangs at the exact same heigh all in a row.

Newton's Pendulum

Easy Science Experiments

They should all hang so they are almost touching and as low as possible. Add tape to the stick to ensure that each string doens’t slide around.

Newton's cradle explanation

Newton’s Pendulum

Now it’s time to try your Newtons Cradle! Carefully pull back one ball from one end and let it go.

Watch the ball on the other end fly out!

Fun Physics Experiments

Watch the ball on the other end fly out!

Now try pulling back two balls and see how many balls fly out the other side.

Physics Experiments for Kids

Now try pulling back two balls and see how many balls fly out the other side.

science experiments for kids

Newton’s Third Law

His third law states that for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. If object A exerts a force on object B, object B also exerts an equal and opposite force on object A.

fun physics experiments

Newton’s cradle explanation

Whenever two objects collide the total amount of kinetic energy stays the same. How much energy depends on the objects mass and the speed at which the items collide. So if the fast- moving object hits another object of the same mass that is sititng still, the momentum (movement) is transferred from the fast object to the still object. If the collision is statice, energy is not lost to friction, the still object will move at the same speed as the fast object and will not stop. In Newton’s cradle all the balls have the same mass and the hard rubber makes for a mostly elastic collision.

Learn how energy is transfered from one object to another in this newton's cradle activity. For this physics experiments for kids, you will make a newton's pendulum to explore how what happens when two objects colide. This newton cradle project is fun for all ages from preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th grade students. With a few simple materials I will show you how to make a newton's cradle; this is a SUPER cool and easy science experiment.

Want to take it a step farther? What if you tried using ping pong balls which are lighter than the bouncy balls. Would it still work the same?

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Summer Fun

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Summer Activities for Kids

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Fun Summer Activities for Kids

About the author

Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! She has created over 1 million pages of printables to help teach kids ABCs, science, English grammar, history, math, and so much more! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activities and FREE printables - www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com

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