Remember the Newton’s Cradle desk toy with the 5 metal balls that create a pendulum effect? Pull one ball from the end and let it fall as a pendulum…it strikes the next ball in the series and stops, whereupon the ball at the opposite end of the series acquires the momentum of the moving ball and swings out in an arc. That ball returns swinging back to strike the other balls sending the ball on the opposite end swinging etc. Start the motion with two balls and two balls swing out from the opposite end…
What if that common desk toy were expanded to seven balls? And what if those balls were lawn bowling balls suspended from a 9 foot tall steel cradle? Come try it out for yourself! Here at ExplorationWorks we have what is believed to be Montana’s largest Newton’s cradle—7 feet long, 9 feet tall and 6 feet wide. It definitely won’t fit on a desk!
Explore concepts like “conservation of momentum” and “conservation of energy.” Investigate how these crashing balls illustrate two of Newton’s Laws of Physics: Law 1—An object in motion stays in motion until acted upon by outside forces; and Law 3—For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Experiment with the creation of patterns by swinging multiple balls with intermittent timing. Or perhaps you just want to have fun with the pendulum effect….
This scientific mainstay is a hoot whether you study the science or just enjoy the crash of the balls. You’ll find the Giant Newton’s Cradle in the upstairs Science Café at ExWorks.
Who would have guessed that hydrology could be so fun? The WaterWorks exhibit offers a hands-on wet-fingers approach to understanding pumps and nozzles and geysers and pressure and lots more. Create waterfalls and dams with locks. Redirect flow through tubes and elbows to demonstrate continuous energy of water wheels.
The WaterWorks exhibit has become one of the favorite activities for museum visitors of all ages. In fact, we recently had a group of engineers visit the museum and they had a hoot of a time experimenting with the hydrology of this display.<br />\r\n As a permanent installation, you can look forward to the WaterWorks display every time you visit regardless of the seasonally variable exhibit sets throughout the rest of the science center.
In May 2010 we added an exciting new floor to ceiling maze of transparent tubes which carry colorful, windborne scarves on a circuitous and entertaining route. It’s a pressure version of the vacuum tubes that drive-up banks use to carry documents from car to bank and back—but much larger and way more fun! Visitors can adjust cutoff valves to alter the route and send the scarves and balls sailing up and airborne out one of three different exit ports. This exhibit is so fun that it’s easy to forget that there are scientific principles involved:
The exhibit is dedicated in loving memory to young William Levis, who spent many hours exploring, playing and learning at ExWorks.
A spectacular braingame where two players control a physical ball using their brain waves. The player being most relaxed and focused wins the game. The brain waves are detected by sensors attached to headbands worn by the players. The result of the analyzed brain waves is presented in the balls movement and the players’ brain activity shown graphically on a monitor connected to the product.
FANTASTIC FIELD TRIPS!
Whether you want your students to explore our current themed exhibit, learn about fluids and air pressure from permanent exhibits like WaterWorks and Amazing Airways, participate in a space-based program co-developed with NASA and MIT or take part in one of our demonstrations; your students are sure to learn while having a blast!
Our Science Center typically hosts more than 3000 K-12 students for field trips annually. School districts statewide continue to recognize the value of a visit to our Science Center.
Our staff scientists and educators tie content into Montana curriculum standards and National Science Common Core Standards so your students learn lessons that pertain to their classroom studies. We also strive to provide quality pre-fieldtrip learning guides for teachers who wish to prep their students in advance or to assist in bringing additional depth to the learning experience.
Admission for field trips is $3/student. Teachers, parents, and chaperones are free.
To schedule a field trip, please call (406)457-1800 x1
For additional information about learning guides and teacher materials, contact
The Teacher Resource Center is your place to find science supplies to borrow for use in your classroom. We offer a wide variety of hands-on experiments, experiences and equipment. For a complete listing of teaching kits and supplies available for checkout, click below to download a PDF.
Planning on checking out supplies from Teacher Resource Center? Here are the details:
Click here to download a .PDF of available kits.