Embroidery Hoops Inertia and First Law Lab


This lab uses embroidery hoops, metal nuts, and Erlenmeyer flasks to demonstrate Newton’s First Law of Motion, also known as the Law of Inertia. Students will balance as many of the nuts as possible on the hoops and then pull the hoop away fast enough to let inertia take over and fall into the flask. Students will then record the size of the hoop they used, the diameter of the nut used, the number of nuts attempted, and the number of nuts that actually fell into the flask on the data tables on the second page.



This lab is an excellent introduction to inertia and can be completed within one full class period, roughly 50 minutes or so. The lab is appropriate for middle and high school levels. The lab is great for general science, physical science, or physics classes.
Most students use the 10-inch embroidery hoop for best results. Success in the lab depends on the technique used to pull the hoop away. Some students get frustrated with attempting to get the hoops and nuts to balance on the flask, so let them know that patience is required, and they will not be successful on every attempt. However, many students will get quite competitive with this lab, trying to set the class record for number of nuts falling into the flask.

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