2013
Apr 25

Newton’s Laws of Cake (Law #2)

by Hannah Holt »

11 comments


So Newton’s First Law of Motion Cake is all about moving cake. Newton’s Second Law is about punching cake. Let’s see what we can learn about punching cake…

Newton Bunny is practicing for the World Bunny Boxing Championship (WBBC). His sparring partner today is cake. Newton needs to know how to punch cake as hard as he can.

rabit punching cake

The Second Law of Motion Cake tells us there are two ways to punch harder:

rabit punching harder

Since this is supposed to be a physics lesson for preschoolers (and preschool teachers probably don’t need a lesson on punching)… let’s look at this law another way.

Newton Bunny is racing his cousin Sheldon. Both bunnies must run through a giant piece of cake on their way to the finish line. Newton is speeding up and Sheldon is slowing down. Which bunny will hit the cake with more force?

Newtons Second Law

In this example the bigness (mass) of the bunnies is the same. But one bunny is speeding up (accelerating), while the other is slowing down. The accelerating bunny will hit the cake with more force and have an easier time making it through to the finish line.

Now here’s an example where the acceleration is the same, but the size of the animals is different.

Newton Bunny and his friend Helga Elephant are having a cake smashing competition. Who do you think will make a bigger cake splash?

jumping on cake

Obviously Helga will make the bigger mess. Even though both animals fall at the same rate (acceleration due to gravity = 32 ft/s² or 9.8 m/s²), Helga has the bigger mass. She will hit the cake with more force.

Now someone in the comments is bound to say, “ELEPHANTS AND BUNNIES DO NOT FALL AT THE SAME SPEED!” or “YOU SAID CAKES DON’T STOP MOVING BY THEMSELVES, BUT THAT’S WRONG!” or “WHO CARES ABOUT BUNNIES AND CAKES?”

Well, I can’t help with that last one. If you don’t like bunnies and cakes, there’s nothing I can do about that. However, the first two comments will be answered because there is one more Law of Motion Cake that we haven’t covered yet.

Stay tuned for Newton’s Third Law of Motion Cake, which I will dub… SNEAKY FORCES.

Wow, only one more law and then we have covered all three of Newton’s Laws of Motion. Someone needs to bake a cake!

Newton’s Second Law of Motion is usually summarized like this:

Newton’s Second Law of Motion: Force is equal to mass multiplied by acceleration, Force = Mass × Acceleration, or

F = m×a.

I summarized this law like this:

Newton’s Second Law of Cake: If you want to punch a cake harder, you must either hit it with something bigger or punch it faster.

To review Newton’s First Law of Motion Cake, click here.
 
To check out Newton’s Third Law, click here.
 
The Fine Print (and Vocabulary):
I want to clear up one more thing for teachers. In this post I tried to describe acceleration in kid friendly terms. So I describe acceleration using words like “faster” and speed by using words like “fast.” I wouldn’t push a young child to recognize the difference between speed and acceleration. The important thing is that a child sees how situations are changed by switching up time, size, and quickness. It’s less important to quantify these changes.
 
However, for your reference here are the differences between some of these terms:
Speed = how fast something is traveling, like miles per hour or meters per second. The car is traveling 50 miles per hour.
Velocity = speed with direction (This is the point of view… Is the car traveling 50 mph moving towards you (+) or away from you (-)?)
Acceleration = how quickly something is speeding up or slowing down, like miles per hour divided by the time it took to get going that fast (miles/hour²)
 
So…
Newton’s First Law…. Momentum = mass × velocity (remember, velocity is speed in a specific direction). It says things want to keep moving even after force is no longer applied.
Newton’s Second Law… Force = mass × acceleration (or mass × velocity / time). It’s how things get moving in the first place.

  1. Gramma Holt

    Gosh, I’m learning this! Thank you, Newton Bunny!

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  2. Joanna

    LOVE BUNNY PHYSICS, or cake-physics!

  3. grandpa weight

    Great balls of cake. I have seen the bunny that makes everything so understandable.
    Teacher, I was wondering how far can the bunny name “Cal” go on a cake-walk with a small piece?

  4. Tina Cho

    Love it!

  5. Carrie F

    I LOVE what you are doing here. I think Newton needs to be the star of his own book. Seriously. I just read a concept book called I See Myself by Vicki Cobb and this could be very similar.

  6. Catherine Johnson

    So clever! This reminds me of a naughty game I played as a kid once and never again with mum’s cake hee hee!

  7. julie rowan zoch

    This is sooooo funny! Love it!

  8. Romelle Broas

    This should be a book! My boys are past preschool but I NEED to show them this. I think they’ll appreciate learning this way!

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