Today in class, we learned about Newton’s first law of motion: that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion unless acted on by an outside force. This means that if you throw a ball on earth, the force of gravity will change its motion and pull it back down to earth. But if you throw a ball in space, it will just keep going forever, or at least until it crashes into an asteroid or falls into a black hole!

We also learned that velocity, which is displacement divided by time, has both a size and a direction, and that it can be broken down into horizontal and vertical components. Here on Earth, a ball that is launched into the air has an initial, or starting, velocity that stays the same throughout its whole flight because there are no horizontal forces to change it. The vertical velocity, on the other hand, is changed by the force of gravity which pulls the ball back down to earth.

Finally, we used a projectile launcher to test the effect that the launch angle has on the range of a projectile. Ask your students what launch angle will make a projectile land as far away as possible!



En la clase de hoy aprendimos sobre la primera ley del movimiento de Newton, la cual dice que un objeto en reposo permanece en reposo y que un objeto en movimiento permanece en movimiento, a menos que actúe sobre él una fuerza externa. Esto significa que cuando uno lanza balón en la tierra, la fuerza de gravedad cambiará su movimiento y la regresará a la Tierra. En cambio, si lanzas un balón en el espacio, éste seguirá moviéndose por siempre, o hasta que choque con un asteroide o caiga en un hoyo negro.

También aprendimos que la velocidad, la cual se define como el desplazamiento dividido por el tiempo, posee tamaño y dirección y que además se puede dividir en componentes verticales y horizontales. Aquí en la Tierra, cuando un balón se lanza hacia el aire, tiene una velocidad de inicio, la cual se mantiene igual a través del recorrido porque no hay fuerzas horizontales que la cambien. La velocidad vertical, no obstante, es modificada por la fuerza de gravedad, la cual la atrae vuelta a la tierra.

Finalmente, utilizamos un lanza proyectiles para probar el efecto que tiene el ángulo de lanzamiento sobre el rango del proyectil. Pregúntele a su hijo o hija cual es el ángulo que hace que un proyectil aterrice lo más lejos posible.


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Lauren Koppel

Lauren earned a Bachelor’s degree with a double major of Biology and Psychology from Clark University, and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During her undergraduate years, she worked in a evolutionary neurobiology lab that studied the neural development of annelids (marine worms), with a focus on the sox family of genes. Lauren loves learning about how the world works (including everything from biology to chemistry to engineering), and is passionate about sharing that knowledge and enthusiasm with others. In the past, she has interned at the Museum of Science, where she educated learners of all ages through hands-on activities, games, and experiments. Other science education organizations with which Lauren has worked include The People’s Science, EurekaFest, and Eureka! of Girls Inc. of Worcester. Currently she lives in Boston, where devotes her free time to playing Quidditch, reading sci-fi novels, playing her ukulele, and enjoying all the culinary delights the city has to offer.

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