Schottenbauer Publishing

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Science of Toys: Blocks & Dominoes

Children's toys provide good examples of the basic laws of physics. Blocks, dominoes, marbles, and balls are but some of the many toys governed by math and science. The book series The Science of Toys provides graphs of toys in motion. In Volume 1, graphs show the force applied over time as blocks and dominoes are pushed on flat and inclined planes.  Analyses include both wood and metal surfaces. Graphs can be used to calculate velocity, force, friction, work, potential energy, and kinetic energy. In Volume 2, graphs show the position of toys in motion as they are pulled by gravity in free-fall and on inclined surfaces.  Data is presented on a variety of shapes of blocks and balls, plus a cylinder, as they move across wood and metal surfaces. Coordinated graphs also show toys as they are pushed by a time-limited force on a flat surface and allowed move freely until coming to rest.  A related anthology, The Science of Play, contains 28 graphs selected from The Science of Toys and a related series, The Science of Marbles

The graph below is excerpted from The Science of Toys, Volume 1.

Discussion Questions

Graph 1
  1. Why does the force line go both up and down?
  2. Over what time span is force exerted on the cube?
  3. How much force is exerted on the cube?
  4. How much work is shown in this graph?

Graph 2
  1. How far does the cube travel?
  2. Over what time span does the cube move?
  3. Is the time span the same as the force exerted in Graph 1? Why or why not?
  4. Is friction present in the experiment? Why or why not? 
  5. What is the maximum velocity of the cube?
  6. What is the maximum kinetic energy of the cube?

Graph books by M. Schottenbauer, Ph.D. are available in both English and German from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Powell's, and other internet retailers. Wholesale is available directly from CreateSpace online.

Additional Information