I can’t bead-lieve my eyes!

Testing Newton’s first law of motion with inertia beads

Newton’s first law of motion is a law of physics that states that an object at rest wants to stay at rest, and an obect in motion wants to stay in motion. That is… until another force acts on it. this tendency to stay unchanged is called inertia.

Want to see inertia in action? here is a fun activity for all ages that lets you see how it works!

Ages: 3 and up (with a parent helping)

ScienceMom with inertia beads


How to do it!

Materials (What you’ll need)

Supplies: vase and beads

  • Party beads (also called Mardi Gras beads)
  • Tape (clear packing tape works well)
  • A tall, clear container like a glass, jar, or vase

Method (What to do)

If your beads are in a loop, snip them open so they’re in long strands.

Tape the ends together to make a long chain.

Carefully coil the long chain into your container, a little bit at a time (if you drop it in all at once, you can get big clumpy snarls!)

When you’re done, gently tug on the end, and watch your beads flow out in a quick colorful stream!

How it works:

When you have all of your beads coiled up in your container they’re at rest, and want to stay that way. But when you give them a tug, you’ve applied a force that puts them in motion. Once the first bead gets moving, the whole long chain will stay in motion because of inertia.


If your beads stop or clump up, you may need to untangle them and put them back in your jar without any overlaps.

You can find more ScienceMom inertia experiments here!