Use Newton’s Laws to Explain Garden Sprinkler

Rotating garden sprinklers are excellent demonstrations of Newton’s third law of motion, law of interaction. Law states that for every action there is equal and opposite reaction. To put it differently, if you find something, it pushes back at you.

In the explanation to students applying this principle to rotating sprinklers, teacher nature of law can with device they illustrate can easily identify. Make sure that the type of sprinkler you is clear, the students are talking. Maybe bring in Example. Sprinklers that are spring-loaded or make fan-shaped spray may be too complex to help clarify third law, so stick to rotary type with nozzles at the end of several, curved arms.

Use Newton’s Laws to Explain Garden Sprinkler

Clarify in students minds that, though water imparts energy to sprinkler arms, both exert force on each other. Therefore, water sprays in opposite direction that arm travels. They are pushing off of each other.

This is opportunity to mention Newton’s first law, that objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Since water is in motion, it tends to keep going, right out nozzle. result is that inertia of armatures is overcome and arms spin.

Take advantage of any opportunity to use memorable phrases such as action-reaction, for each action, there is equal and opposite reaction, and you can’t push without being pushed back just as hard. Test students with this especially subtle question. Ask them, if water is sucked into underwater sprinkler using vacuum, which direction does third law say sprinkler will spin Since surrounding water pushes on wall, incoming water counters that from inside, and arms won’t tend to move.

Both blobs of water on either side of curve in armature start out with same pressure, so they counter each other equally. This is quite opposite of what case was when water was pushing out of armatures, having far greater pressure than air on outside of armature curve.

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How to Use Newton’s Laws to Explain Garden Sprinkler

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