The Physics of Toys

Bayport-Blue Point School District’s third-grade students in the enrichment program, PIE, had the chance to experience physics in action through hands-on activities and demonstrations using familiar and old-fashioned toys when a representative from the Long Island Science Center visited their class.

During the workshop, titled “The Physics of Toys,” the students experimented with the forces of gravity and inertia by observing and manipulating materials, forming and testing their own hypotheses. Breaking into groups, they designed demonstrations involving potential and kinetic energy. Using ramps, cars and spinning tops and poppers, they worked to prove or disprove their hypotheses and ultimately shared their findings with the class.

The students concluded the workshop with the clear understanding that potential energy is added by changing the position or condition of an object, and were eager to take home the toys they created to demonstrate the concept.