Sir Isaac Newton

Barbara J. Feldman

Sir Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727) was an English scientist who made great contributions to physics, optics, math and astronomy. Among elementary and middle-school students, he is best known for his Three Laws of Motions and the Universal Law of Gravitation. Have you heard the story about an apple dropping on Newton’s head? Learn more at the following sites.

  • NASA: Newton's Three Laws of Motion4 stars

    "The motion of an aircraft through the air can be explained and described by physical principals discovered over 300 years ago by Sir Isaac Newton." This illustrated, hyperlinked lesson created by NASA introduces Newton's Laws of Motion and how they apply to aviation. The grade-level buttons (labeled 6-8, 9-12, and 11-12) link to related worksheets, activities, and quizzes. Stay on the Newton Guided Tour by navigating with the Next and Previous buttons, or jump to a new section by visiting the colored buttons (such as Kite Index or Model Rocket Index.)

  • The Physics Classroom: Newton's Laws of Motion5 stars

    The Physics Classroom is an illustrated, animated tutorial for high-school students written by high-school science teacher Tom Henderson. These four lessons explain Newton's Laws of Motion with multimedia demonstrations and quizzes. My favorite clicks are the interactive activities listed in the Shockwave Physics Studio and the animations found in Multimedia.

  • PBS: Newton's Dark Secrets5 stars

    "He was the greatest scientist of his day, perhaps of all time. But while Isaac Newton was busy discovering the universal law of gravitation, he was also searching out hidden meanings in the Bible and pursuing the covert art of alchemy. In this program, NOVA explores the strange and complex mind of Isaac Newton." Although few classrooms probably explore this side of Newton's fascinating character, I include it for variety. Best clicks are His Legacy, and Einstein on Newton.

  • Sir Isaac Newton: The Universal Law of Gravitation4 stars

    "There is a popular story that Newton was sitting under an apple tree, an apple fell on his head, and he suddenly thought of the Universal Law of Gravitation. As in all such legends, this is almost certainly not true in its details, but the story contains elements of what actually happened." These illustrated lessons are written for a college-level astronomy class by professors at the University of Tennessee, but high-school physics students will also find them valuable.

  • TeacherTech: Newton's 3 Laws of Motion5 stars

    Created by middle-school science teacher Georgia Louviere, Newton's 3 Laws of Motion is my pick of the day for middle-school students because of its delightful use of animation. Louviere illustrates the Laws of Motion with stick figures on skateboards and animated cars running into brick walls, examples we can all relate to. Her lessons conclude with a simple eight-question quiz, and two hands-on activities (which are my favorite clicks.) The first activity asks "Does the height of a ramp affect the distance a Hot Wheels car will travel?" The second project is the design of a balloon-powered car.

  • Honorable Mentions

    The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

    Cite This Page

  • Feldman, Barbara. "Sir Isaac Newton." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 4 Jan. 2006. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. < >.

  • About This Page

  • By . Originally published January 4, 2006. Last modified July 9, 2014.

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