The concept of gravity becomes much more accessible through hands-on materials and activities. When your student is ready to learn about gravitational forces, the laws of motion, and air resistance, an engaging demonstration of these abstract ideas can make instruction that much more effective. With some simple materials, you can recreate these demonstrations of gravity in the comfort of your own home. Here are some of our favorite gravity activities that are instructive, entertaining, and user-friendly!
Center of Gravity Activities
1. Center of Gravity Experiment
Jumpstart your learner by challenging them to a seemingly impossible challenge: balancing a craft stick on top of a chopstick. For this activity, you’ll need a couple of clothespins, a chopstick, a craft stick, and some pipe cleaner. By the end, your student will begin to visualize the center of gravity.
Learn more: Rookie Parenting
2. Gravity Puzzle
We’ll admit, at first this activity seems far more complex than necessary. To simplify the setup process, start the gravity puzzle video at 2:53 for easier design. This experiment with a balance point and center of gravity will quickly become a favorite magic trick, too!
Learn more: TKOR
3. Uncanny Cancan
Ever seen a soda can do ballet? Now is your chance with this center of gravity lab! We love this activity because it can be as quick or lengthy as you’d like depending on the number of trials you perform, and all you need is an empty can and some water!
Velocity and Free Fall Activities
4. Falling Rhythm
This experiment is relatively simple in execution, but more complex in analysis. As your learner listens to the rhythm of the falling weights, consider contextualizing their observations with the basic ideas of velocity, distance vs. time, and acceleration.
Learn more: Exploratorium
5. Egg Drop Soup
This egg drop trick is another experiment that can begin with a challenge: how do you drop an egg into a glass of water without touching either one? This demonstration gives learners the chance to better understand balanced and unbalanced forces in action.
Learn more: Generation Genius
6. Origami Science
Understanding the balance between gravity and air resistance can be quite simple with some simple materials and a bit of origami. This activity lends itself well to opportunities to make a claim with evidence as you modify your origami drop.
Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands
Gravitational Phenomenon Demonstrations
7. Gravity Defiance
Although this experiment is demonstrated with younger children, this can be an excellent lesson opener to introduce the role of gravity and gravitational pull. Challenge your student to experiment with distance and magnetic strength by trying different positioning of the magnet and clips!
Learn more: Buggy and Buddy
8. Air Pressure and Water Weight
To demonstrate the concept of air pressure, all you need is a glass of water and a piece of paper! We especially love how this resource provides a thorough lesson plan and a Powerpoint with notes to complement the experiment.
Learn more: The Institution of Engineering and Technology
9. $20 Challenge
We promise, no money will be lost in this experiment. But if you’d like to play it safe, you can always make it a $1 challenge! Test your students’ dexterity and patience with this fun experiment in gravitational pull.
Learn more: Thirteen
10. Centripetal Force Fun
This engaging video shows multiple gravity-defying experiments to try, but our favorite begins at minute 4:15. By swinging your cup or bottle at a constant rate, the water will remain in the vessel, seemingly defying gravity! Nanogirl’s explanation helps contextualize this phenomenon for your learner.
Learn more: Nanogirl STEM Activities for Kids
Gravity on Earth and Beyond Activities
11. Out of this World Gravity Investigation
Help your learner get a grip on gravity by walking them through this gravitational exploration of the greater solar system. This activity provides the procedure, worksheets, and recommended extensions and modifications. In conjunction, have your student take a virtual tour of the ISS to build some background knowledge.
Learn more: ESA Multimedia and CASIS Academy
12. Build a Model for Gravity in Space
When viewing a diagram of our solar system, it is easy to view the planets as mere distant objects, however, this demonstration allows students to better understand the definition of gravity as it pertains to our galaxy. Grab some chairs, billiard balls, and some stretchy material, for this rewarding demonstration!
Learn more: iTeachly
13. Elevator Ride to Space
Far from Willy Wonka’s glass elevator, our everyday elevators are excellent demonstrations of gravitational interactions. This activity allows learners to better understand how the effects of gravity become seemingly aberrant in space without leaving Earth! We recommend bringing along a towel in case of any spillage!
Learn more: Education.com
14. “Rocket” Science
I guess this hands-on gravitational force activity is indeed “rocket science!” This rocket-building experiment works with chemical reactions, increases in velocity, rate of acceleration, and the laws of motion. We recommend this project as either a concluding activity or an extension into more complex concepts.
Learn more: Ward’s World
15. Magnetic Learning
Need a quick opener or closer to a lesson? This gravity and magnetism activity can be a fun demonstration of magnetic fields and gravitational force. Be sure to read the notes in this activity to extend this experiment in different ways.
Learn more: Rookie Parenting