Not Newton’s Cradle

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This is one of a set of resources developed to support the teaching of the primary national curriculum. They are designed to support the delivery of key topics within science and design and technology. This resource focusses on producing a Newton’s cradle that uses magnets instead of the usual metal spheres.

Newton’s cradle uses swinging spheres to show how the conservation of momentum works. What happens when you replace these spheres with magnets?

In this activity learners will make a Newton’s cradle using magnets, instead of the usual spherical pieces of metal. They will test their product and observe how it behaves compared to a regular Newton’s cradle. They will learn about how magnets have a north and south pole, and why they attract or repel each other.

This could be used as a one-off activity or as part of a wider unit of work focussing on magnets and magnetism.

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