If you have a middle school student, then you know about bottle flipping. Ms. Jay sure knows about bottle flipping and decided to use the students' obsession with it to teach about the physic concepts of gravity and angular momentum.
So what is this bottle flipping fad? Kids spend hours trying to toss a mostly empty plastic water bottle so that it lands exactly upright. Landing it on the bottom is good. Landing it on its lid seems to make the kids go bonkers.
The key science concepts involved in bottle flipping are in the center of gravity and angular momentum. Center of gravity is where the mass of an object is centered and more importantly the point around which the object spins. Angular momentum is the tendency of an object to continue spinning. It depends on the mass, size of the object and how fast it is spinning.
As part of the project, 5th graders got to flip lots and lots of bottles, record their results, and understand the science behind it all.