Thursday, July 24, 2008

Physics Lessons in a Hay Maze

This picture was made seconds before the tragedy occurred.

Hay Maze

Last weekend was the social event of the season for three year olds in our neck of the woods... A Day out with Thomas the Tank Engine. They had this swell hay maze as an added attraction. It was a whole lot of fun but there was an incident. I could see it unfolding as Thomas-crazed toddlers screamed down the raceways of the maze. There was nothing I could do but watch and then it was done. The head-on collision illustrated the pure kinetic energy of hyped-up youngsters running like the story book trains they adore. Both boys bounced off each other, flew backwards and landed on their backs. The oil crisis could be solved if we could harness this power.

But I believe there is good in all life experience and for my young lad, this spectacular crash is no exception. First, it is now imminently clear to him that an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. So... Pretty good for a three year old. He understands Newton's First Law of Motion. Second, Bridger now knows the secret remedy of tough guys everywhere... Walk it off. He was right back at it seconds later. They grow up so fast.
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