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Does Mass Impact Inertia? Sixth Graders Investigate

two students at table with one showing the other a projectAfter learning about the property of mass and how it relates to Newton's First Law of Motion, Teresa Dzubak's sixth-grade science students devised an experiment to test how an object's mass impacts its inertia.

The North Salem Middle School scientists worked in pairs to design a repeatable test method. They identified a constant starting point and practiced using a book to give the same forceful push to ensure consistency. Taking turns, the students pushed containers of varying weights across the lab table and precisely measured where they stopped. Their data reflected that the lighter containers slid further along the table, supporting Newton's first law.

boy and girl students observing their project"This lab gives the students an opportunity to understand an abstract concept like inertia and practice using their analytical skills through a hands-on approach," said Dzubak, impressed with her students' attention to detail in collecting data. "Doing activities like this, the students are better able to make connections between the science learned and real-life experiences."