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With the Center of Gravity Toss Demonstration Kit for physical science and physics, effectively show that when an irregularly shaped object is thrown in the air, it follows a smooth parabola—just as Newton predicted.

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Effectively show that the path of an irregularly shaped object, when thrown in the air, is a smooth parabola—just as Newton predicted! Locate the center of mass of the irregular foam object, and mark it with a Velcro® dot. Now toss and spin the object in the air. Students will easily observe parabolic path of the white dot as the object rotates around its center of gravity. This demonstration offers visual proof for two fundamental physical principles—the mass of an object can be assumed to be at the center of mass, and the center of mass obeys Newton’s laws of motion. The soft foam object is safe to throw without injuring students or damaging laboratory equipment. Includes a reproducible student worksheet and valuable Teacher Notes with instructions, tips and answers to student questions.

Concepts: Center of gravity, stability, Newton’s laws of motion, parabolic motion.
Time Required: 20 minutes


Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Obtaining, evaluation, and communicating information
Developing and using models

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion
MS-PS2.B: Types of Interactions
HS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion
HS-PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer

Crosscutting Concepts

Energy and matter
Structure and function
Cause and effect
Stability and change
Systems and system models

Performance Expectations

MS-PS2-4: Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects
HS-PS2-4: Use mathematical representations of Newton’s Law of Gravitation and Coulomb’s Law to describe and predict the gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects.