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Coin Tower Experiment

In & Outdoor Free
Forces & Motion

Activity Overview

Kids of all ages will enjoy this fun science experiment which involves a challenge and a dash of magic. The Coin Tower Experiment will have young magicians and scientists overcoming friction and challenging Newton's first law of motion. This experiment will undoubtedly interest observers into trying it themselves. So, with only a few items that you are certain to have on hand at home, you and your family can learn all about inertia and friction in a hands on and exciting way.

Materials Needed

  • A tall stack of like coins
  • Butter knife

How To Do It

  1. Stack the coins into a nice neat stack.
  2. By swiftly sliding a butter knife across the bottom of the coin tower.
  3. Examine how many coins you can swipe out from the coin tower before the coin tower will topple over.

Scientific Explanation

The neat stack of coins desperately wants to stay in place and if you tried to move the bottom coin out from under the stack casually, the stack would tumble because there is so much friction on the coins. When you add the inertia of quickly swiping the knife, the force is much greater than the amount of friction present. So, instead of falling over, the stack falls exactly into place.

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