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# Bouncing with Momentum – Flinn Scientific Canada

## Introduction

The collision of objects is a great way to demonstrate the conservation of momentum. EngageÂ students by having them drop and collide toy balls of different mass and size. The results mayÂ be surprising! This inquiry-based activity will really get your students thinking about momentum.

## Concepts

• Collisions
• Conservation of momentum
• Elasticity

## Background

When an object is in motion, it has a property known as momentum. Momentum (p) is calculated by multiplying the mass (m) ofÂ the object by its velocity (v); p = mv. A fundamental principle of physics is that the momentum of an isolated system of objectsÂ always remains constant. This is known as the conservation of momentum. If objects within a system collide, the momentum ofÂ each individual object before and after a collision may change, but the total momentum of the system will remain constant.

There are two types of collisionsâ€”elastic and inelastic. An elastic collision occurs when objects collide and then separate afterÂ the collision. An example of an elastic collision is the collision between a baseball and a bat. An inelastic collision is whenÂ objects collide, stick together, and move as one object after the collision. An example of an inelastic collision is when a baseballÂ hits a catcherâ€™s mitt and stops. In every collision, elastic or inelastic, momentum is always conserved.