Inertia and Spinning Marbles

What can you learn about inertia and Newton’s First Law of Motion, using spinning marbles made out of just marbles and glue? A lot!

This is actually a super cool hands STEM activity that would make a great science project for kids. It’s a fun way to start introducing kids in physics in a way they understand and doesn’t make their eyes glaze over.

Kids holding marbles glued together in their hands that they will use as spinning marbles to learn about inertia.
Who knew physics could be so fun!

Stem Activities For Kids

STEM activities are designed to make kids look at science principles with things they can touch, feel and move.  Our kids love exploring principles of science, technology and math, and today we did just that as we created spinning marbles.

STEM activities are a way to learn hands-on the emerging concepts from Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields to create something.

 

What Is Inertia?

We keep mentioning that this spinning marbles science experiment will teach us about inertia but what exactly is it?

Intertia is the resistance of an object to change in its motions. An object will stay still or keep moving at the same speed in a straight line unless it is acted upon by an external (or outside) force.

In today’s activity, spinning marbles, we did just that.  We watched with our own eyes as something that was still and would always be still, transform into a spinning whirlwind that without an outside force (gravity or the end of the table) would just keep moving.

Spinning Marbles Science Experiment

Now it is time to gather the supplies you need for this awesome marble science project and start putting it together to let the fun begin!

Supplies Needed For This Science Experiment

The supply list is very minimal which is what makes this project so great. It is educational and easy to create. Though it does require some adult supervision as a hot glue gun can cause burns.

Materials:

  • Marbles
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks
A child holding a red and green marble as they begin hot gluing them together.
Be careful with the hot glue gun!

Putting Your Tops Together

Glue the marbles together in the shape of a top. You will want to create a number of different tops for this experiment.

You will want to create a 3 different tops:

  • The first one will have 4 marbles all together
    • 3 at the base with 1 at the top
  • The second will have  9 marbles all together
    • 5 at the base, 3 in the middle, and 1 at the top
  • The third will have 11 marbles in all
    • 7 at the bottom, 3 in the middle, and 1 at the top

Be creative and add as many different shapes and numbers of marbles as you want.

Before you test them, make sure to write down your hypothesis one which ones you think will do best, worst, and explain why.

Spinning Marbles tops- two have 3 on the bottom with 1 marble on top, and the last has 7 marbles on the bottom with 3 in the middle, and one on top.
You can make so many different sizes to try out.

Testing and Documenting

Now it is time for the fun part! Test different numbers and shapes to see which spins fastest. But don’t forget to write down all the information you gather. This will help you to see if your hypothesis was correct or not.

Data You Should Collect:

  • How long did they all spin?
  • Did the bigger tops do better or the smaller?
  • What differences did you notice?
  • Was your hypothesis correct?

Once you have collected all your data it can be easily transferred to a science project board to show everyone!

A big spinning marble top made out of 11 marbles.
I can’t wait to try this!

So much fun!

Did you know? We wrote a science book!

Our book, The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments, features tons of awesome activities just like this one that will keep your kids engaged while they learn. How awesome is that?!

The 101 Coolest Simple Science ExperimentsCheck out this amazing book!