Inertia P.E.O.E. Demonstrations – submitted by Michael Balzer

The link below takes you to two very useful demonstrations to illustrate Inertial which follow the Predict, Explain, Observe, Explain (PEOE) format.

It is suggested that both demos are performed before introducing Newton’s First Law of motion.

Inertia PEOE by Michael Balzer

Thanks again for the great resource Michael!!!


By Erin Turner…..


The nature of physics experiments (in the high school classroom) creates a perfect situation to allow students to generate their own testable questions. Many of the safety concerns that might exist in other disciplines can often be avoided when teaching classical physics, as the materials are much more benign. Continue reading

Hydrodynamic Levitation!

On a stream of water you can levitate light balls of all sizes and even disks and cylinders. The mechanism is not the Bernoulli effect…
Want to make this at home:

My friend Blake from InnoVinci emailed me with a cool idea for a video and footage of levitating balls in water streams. Initially it was tough to explain the physics of what was going on. The standard Bernoulli effect relies on the object being completely immersed in the upward-flowing fluid. But in this case the water seems to form a single stream around the object and it’s deflected away and down from the stream. By Newton’s third law, the force on the water by the ball is equal and opposite to the force of the water back on the ball, pushing it up into the stream. There is a stable equilibrium position because if the ball moves into the stream, it “cuts off” the water going over the ball so it drifts out. If it drifts out too far, then lots of water passes over the ball, pushing it back into the stream.

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Filmed by Raquel Nuno
Slow motion by Hollywood Special Ops


Ping-Pong Movers Inc.


Contributed by: Gordon Webb


Big Ideas

  • Movement is a change in position of an object

Curriculum Connection: Grade 2: Structures and Mechanisms


Inquiry Skills Used

The students will explore various ways to make ping-pong balls move.

Safety Considerations

Provide eye protection (e.g., safety goggles), lots of room, and adequate adult supervision for the movement of ping-pong balls.


Students will explore and discover how an object(s) can be moved. They will explore and manipulate the motion of ping-pong balls and experiment with forces required that will control the motion of the balls by pushing, pulling, throwing, dropping, and rolling. This will help them understand that the position and motion of objects can be changed by applying forces in different ways.

What You Need

  • Ping-pong balls
  • Wooden blocks
  • Chop sticks
  • String
  • Paper tubesBall
  • Tape
  • Plastic spoons
  • Mini-hockey sticks
  • Eye protection

What to Do

  1. Ask the students to list how many different ways a ping-pong can be made to move from one place to another.
  2. Divide the class into pairs or small groups to explore all of the possible ways to make the ping-pong balls move.
  3. As the students explore various methods to move objects, write on chart paper a class list of methods used to move the ping-pong balls – e.g., pushing, pulling, kicking, throwing, sliding, rolling, dropping, blowing, etc.
  4. Now ask the students to create a structure or mechanism that will allow the students to move a ping-pong ball without physically touching the ball to make it move.

Where to Go from Here?motion, 

Have students draw a diagram and write an explanation about how their mechanism moved the ping-pong ball.  Discuss which mechanism uses the least amount of force.

Ask students to consider these questions:Kid with paddle ball

  • How can you build the track to slow the ball down? Speed it up? Make it go further? Make it go a shorter distance?  Turn a corner?

Challenge the students to build the fastest device or the slowest device.

STSE Links

How can a road be built to reduce the amount of gas a car consumes?

Cross Curricular Connections


  • have the students write a manual about how to use their mechanism.  Each group should prepare a poster and advertising campaign to sell their new product.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Adapted from

Ping pong shooter