Isaac Newton Olympicsby: Carol Cox

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Whoever heard of middle school students playing basketball and holding long jump competitions during a unit on Newton’s Laws of Motion? During the Isaac Newton Olympics, students move through seven stations. At each station, students complete a hands-on activity that explores at least one motion concept. After each activity, students complete a short evaluation that reinforces what they have learned and how it relates to everyday life.

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Reviews (7)
  • on Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:47 AM

I think that these stations would be a great way to reinforce all of Newton's Laws. I think it will help my students make connections to real life. I am really excited to try them. I am just not sure if I would prefer to use it as an introduction or a reinforcement.


  • on Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:56 AM

I loved this idea and made it work for what I needed assess in my students. I did these activities as a sort of obstacle course for Leap Year. Students then took a "quiz" where they identified the forces, energy sources, etc. after they went through the course.

Kate Tummino  (Hyndman, PA)
Kate Tummino (Hyndman, PA)

  • on Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:15 PM

This article looks like a fun new way to introduce the students to Newton's laws in a fun non-traditional manner. By setting up 7 different stations, the students will have fun playing basketball, performing "magic", and more activities to explore the laws. I see this as a great introduction activity for my Physics section.

Jaime Kupfner  (Parkersburg, WV)
Jaime Kupfner (Parkersburg, WV)

  • on Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:26 AM

This is a very interesting article in which the author gives several olympic-type events for students to participate in. All of these events are easy to set up and students discover which of Newton's Laws apply to each event. Class discussion of these events is sure to be lively.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:54 PM

I used this activity as a 4th grade as a lab activity to reinforce Newton's laws. The kids loved it, and as they went through the activities I heard them saying things like, "Oh I get it, we can jump further when we run because we were already moving. That's the first law." Newton's Olympics is a engaging activity that will excite your students as they learn about Newton's laws.

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:53 AM

The author describes her way of teaching the laws of motion with seven stations around the room each relating to some form of motion. Groups rotate through each of these stations during a given segment of time. The author describes all that is necessary to duplicate each of these stations providing both teacher and student instructions. This is clearly an awesome article that any middle school teacher can implement within two traditional class periods or one block period.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:48 AM

The author has developed "Olympic" stations where each event demonstrates the concepts of action-reaction, inertia, F=ma and/or gravity. Very creative and motivating way to develop student interest! I have one complaint, and that is the explanation of action-reaction forces for the balloon release (and the other accompanying examples) is incorrect - the action is the air that remains in the balloon pushing on the balloon (the open end of the balloon lacks a push which is why it goes in other directions) and the reaction is the balloon resisting that push - same for the bullet and rocket examples (or how would one explain a rocket in space where there is nothing for the escaping gases to push on?). Other than that the activities are clever and provide a link for students from the theoretical to models they are all familiar with and can remember - Wonderful lesson for elementary on up!

Tina Harris  (Bloomington, IN)
Tina Harris (Bloomington, IN)

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