Raji Swaminathan’s Gr. 7 science students spent a week in October learning about momentum and how it is an important factor in analyzing automobile collisions.
In this lab, students experimented by rolling a cart from varying heights from a ramp, and saw that the velocity of the cart increased with the height from which it rolled. Since the mass of the cart is constant, the students realized that the cart’s momentum depends upon its velocity. As the cart rolled down from different heights, it was made to crash into an object at the bottom of the ramp. Students observed that the greater the momentum of the cart, the further the object was pushed, which measured how much damage was being done to the automobile. “These students, who will be driving in the future, learn a valuable lesson that the higher the velocity of the car that they are driving, the higher its momentum, the higher its kinetic energy and the greater the amount of damage if it unfortunately is involved in a crash collision,” Swaminathan said.