Posts Tagged ‘physics’

Warming Things Up with Friction

Monday, September 26th, 2016


Today we will be warming things up with friction. We will be rubbing coins against the carpet to see if they get hot. We will be using an infrared camera to see how hot the coin gets after experiencing friction.

Next we will rub our hands together. You will see that the ring on my husband’s hand does not get hot, probably because the ring is tight on my husband’s hand, so the ring got no friction when he rubbed his hands together.

The grand finale is the vacuum cleaner. You will have to watch the video to see how the vacuum cleaner creates a line of heat in its path!

Heat & Friction Experiment: Infrared Camera (video)

This post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

This experiment is from Christian Kids Explore Physics by Bright Ideas Press. We have been enjoying all the hands-on activities that bring the subject of physics to life for kids.

Coin Friction Experiment

Hold a coin against your cheek and see how cold it is. Now rub it against the carpet for 30 seconds. Low-pile carpet works better than shaggy carpet, by the way. Then place the coin against your cheek again and notice the difference in temperature of the coin.

Try different coins: penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. Rub harder or faster and see if the coin gets hot faster.


We measured the temperature of the coins before and after rubbing them against the carpet. We saw an immediate change in temperature, even to the carpet underneath it! We could sign our name in the carpet with the coin, leaving a hot trail on the carpet. This reminds me of signing my name with sparklers on New Year’s Eve.


Hand Friction Experiment

My daughter rubbed her hands together, and they got hotter. This is why if you are out in the snow and you are super cold, you can feel warmer when you rub your hands together, because the friction creates warmth.


I hope you enjoyed this fun heat and friction experiment. I had to laugh when I saw what my face looked like with the infrared camera!

Prisms, Light, and Color

Monday, September 19th, 2016


Today we will be learning about prisms, light, and color. We will be doing some hands-on activities to see what light is made of, and what it does. We will also learn why we see colors.

Light is electromagnetic energy. It has different wavelengths that fall on the electromagnetic spectrum. Light is made up of all the colors, as you can see when looking through a prism:

light-is-colorThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Light illumines the world around us so that we can see it. Light can be reflected, transmitted, or absorbed:

  • reflected: light bounces back
  • transmitted: light passes through material
  • absorbed: light sinks into an object

We conducted an experiment with several different materials and a flashlight, to see if the light was reflected, transmitted, or absorbed by the material. We used a mirror, Cling Wrap, wax paper, aluminum foil, a bench, and my jeans.

Experiments with Prisms, Light, & Color (video)

Take a look at how the prism separates white light into all the colors of the spectrum. Then watch as we conduct an experiment to see which materials reflect, transmit, and absorb light:

Playing with Colors

We printed a coloring page from Christian Kids Explore Physics by Bright Ideas Press, and my daughter enjoyed playing with colors as she painted the scene. She found out that when something is blue, that object reflects blue but absorbs all the other colors.


We had a wonderful time playing with prisms, light, and color!

Bowling with Momentum

Monday, September 12th, 2016


Today we are going on a field trip to a bowling alley: we will be bowling with momentum! Momentum is defined as the tendency of an object that is moving to continue moving.

How do you find momentum?

You find momentum by multiplying mass times speed:

momentum = mass x speed

In the case of my bowling ball, I saw on the TV screen above my head that my bowling ball was moving down the lane at 16 miles per hour. My bowling ball was 10 pounds. So the momentum was 160 pounds-miles/hour.

Bowling Experiment (video)

This post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

We have been learning about momentum from Christian Kids Explore Physics by Bright Ideas Press, and this is one of the hands-on activities in the book. As you can see in the video, less speed or a lighter ball will decrease momentum. More speed or a heavier ball will increase momentum and be more likely to knock the pins down.


When my kids were toddlers, they would roll the bowling ball down the lane, and it sometimes stopped halfway down the lane because it lacked momentum. You need to give a ball enough speed so that the ball has enough momentum to keep going forward.

If the child had used more force (to increase the speed of the ball), it would probably not have come to a complete stop. (A heavier ball would have helped, too, but my toddlers could barely lift the lightest ball!)


Why not go to a bowling alley this week and see if you can increase the momentum of your bowling ball and improve your score?

Flying Projectiles & Plotting Trajectories

Monday, September 5th, 2016


Today we will be playing with flying projectiles and plotting trajectories. Yes, physics can be super fun when it’s hands-on!

First you will want to grab several objects that you don’t mind tossing into the air. We chose the following objects: a football toy, a small basketball, a frisbee, an over-sized toy clock, and a frozen cheese pizza.

Flying Projectiles Experiment (video)

This post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

We got the idea to toss a pizza in the air as a projectile because of this quiz question from Christian Kids Explore Physics by Bright Ideas Press:


One of my sons insisted that a cheese pizza could very well be a projectile. Ha!

So what exactly is a projectile?

A projectile is something that can be sent flying through the air. How far the projectile flies through the air depends on three things:

  1. The speed of the projectile (how hard you throw the ball)
  2. The force of gravity (it pulls down on the object)
  3. The angle of launch (the higher the angle, the farther the object will go)

Then what is a trajectory?

A trajectory is the path of a projectile. If you want to plot the trajectory of a tennis ball rolling off a table, you will need the following items:

  • a tennis ball
  • a table
  • a measuring tape
  • masking tape
  • charts from the book


As you can see in the video, we rolled the ball off the table with with slow, medium, and fast speeds, and we plotted those trajectories. (You mark the floor at the edge of the table with the masking tape to use that as a starting point to measure how far the ball flies through the air.)

We also dropped a ball straight down to see if there was any trajectory at all. You can see the results of our experiment in the video above. It was super fun!