A beautiful science experiment to showcase the Law of Conservation of Momentum. Teaching science need not be a tough job when you do experiments like these to catch the attention of kids.
Stuff required for the Science Experiment
- A tennis ball
- A basketball
Momentum is the product of mass and velocity of an object.
A 70 kg man on a 30 kg cycle travelling at 10 meters per second has a momentum of (70+30)*10 = 1000 kg.m/s.
A 10 tonne lorry travelling at 10 meters per second has a momentum of 10000 * 10 = 1,00,000 kg.m/s
Hence a heavier object travelling at low speeds can still cause more damage than a light object at the same speed.
Law of Conservation of Momentum
Also, the law of conservation of momentum states that the momentum of two objects is preserved even after collide and only gets exchanged. A wonderful science experiment to showcase the same is the use of a basketball and a tennis ball.
Drop them individually and you will not notice them bounce very well. However, drop them with the tennis ball on top of the basketball and you will be amazed at the height to which the tennis ball gets propelled.
The science behind the science experiment
When the basketball rebounds from the floor, it hits the tennis ball that is still dropping. Instantly, it transfers the bulk of its momentum to the tennis ball which flies off to a spectacular height.
Class 9 and Class 10 students in India have a chapter dealing with momentum and this experiment will surely bring out the science lover among your students. You can rest assured that kids will go home and show this experiment to their family multiple times. Tell them to experiment with different ball types, by placing the smaller tennis ball underneath the bigger basketball and so on.