Newton’s cradle was named after Sir Isaac Newton because it demonstrates some of the physics laws discussed in his work Philosopiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687. It is a device used to demonstrate conservation of momentum and kinetic energy. It consists of a series of identical balls (usually five or seven). Each ball is attached by two strings of equal length to a horizontal frame. This series of balls is arranged so that they barely touch each other.
Watch the video below; then, in your science notebook, answer the following questions.
- Describe what happened when a metal ball was pulled away, released, and then allowed to collide with the four stationary metal balls. What happened when two metal balls were pulled and released? Three? Four?
- Write a prediction of what you think would have happened if the metal balls were of different sizes and weights.