Don't lose your points!

### Free Educational Resources

• > Sciences
• > Bill Nye Demonstation: Newton's Pendulum
+

# Bill Nye Demonstation: Newton's Pendulum

(12)
• (7)
• (2)
• (1)
• (1)
• (1)
Author: Bill Nye
##### Description:

Although Isaac Newton did not invent Newton's Cradle, it so simply and elegantly demonstrates some of the basic laws of motion he helped describe that it makes sense it's named after him. So, what does it do?

(more)

### Developing Effective Teams

*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

28 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

281 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 25 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.

Tutorial

## Newton's Pendulum

You probably have seen this apparatus before. But do you know what you're seeing? Let's have a look...

## How Does it Work?

This is a Newton's cradle, also called a Newton's rocker or a ball clicker. It was so-named in 1967 by English actor Simon Prebble, in honor of his countryman and revolutionary physicist Isaac Newton.

Despite its seemingly simple design, the Newton's cradle and its swinging, clicking balls isn't just an ordinary desk toy. It is, in fact, an elegant demonstration of some of the most fundamental laws of physics and mechanics.

The toy illustrates the three main physics principles at work

• conservation of energy
• conservation of momentum
• friction

Try pulling one ball away from the others and releasing it, the ball will swing and strike the second ball, which in turns sends the momentum through the series of balls causing the last ball to move away from the group. When the last ball swings back, its collision then causes the first ball to move away. This process repeats until it finally wears down. Pulling away several balls will result in the same number of balls moving away at the other end.

## Newton's Pendulum - AKA: Newton's Cradle

The physics toy and demo sold as "Newton's cradle" is also called "colliding balls", "Newton's spheres", "counting balls", "impact balls", "ball-chain", the "executive pacifier", and even, believe it or not, "Newton's balls."  (Donald Simanek)

## Try This!

Here is an activity using the Newton's Cradle with students.

of

## So, you love this idea but don't want to make or buy Newton's Cradle? There's still a solution. Check out my quick and easy activity called Marble Madness. Same concepts using a wooden ruler and marbles. Just like the engineers with the Apollo 13 mission, necessity is the mother of invention!

Check out more explanations and extensions!

## What Else is There?

If you're interested in watching more of my demonstrations, checkout my playlist,