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National Coin Week: Teach Newton's First Law with a Coin

National Coin Week: Teach Newton's First Law with a Coin
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Posted: 04-21-2015 01:45:00 PM

In honor of National Coin Week 2015, and ModernCoinMart's (MCM) initiative to introduce coin collecting to young kids, here is a science experiment involving coins that will teach children about Sir Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion. 

Incorporate coins into a fun science experiment to get your kids interested in coinage early. This particular lesson, deemed The Coin Drop, introduces Sir Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion using minimal supplies. 


  • An index card
  • A glass
  • A few coins
  • Safety Glasses

Experiment Steps:

1. Place your index card on the top of the drinking glass. Give enough space on one side of the card to be able to give it a hard flick without letting your finger hit the glass.

2. Place one of your coins on top of the card so that it is over the cup's opening.

3. Flick the edge of the notecard from the side, not underneath, so that it flies out the other end leaving the coin to fall into the glass.


Sir Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion says, "An object at rest will stay at rest unless an outside force acts upon it. An object that is moving, will stay moving until something stops it."

The Coin Drop experiment proves this because the coin is at rest on top of the card until the removal of the index card enables gravity which acts upon the coin and pulls it into the glass. As it falls, it stops at the bottom of the glass. Kids may wonder why the coin doesn't fly off with the index card when it's flicked; there is not enough friction to pull the coin with it.

Take It A Step Further:

Try using some different coins for this experiment to see if the different coin matters and why. Try a penny, quarter or silver dollar to see if it makes any difference. 

*Thank you to Steve Spangler Science for this science experiment idea.

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About The Author

Kelsey Kay Howard Kelsey graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa with a B.A. in mass communications. She is new to the world of numismatics, but as the Marketing Specialist for MCM is dedicated to learning all there is to know.

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