Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Workshop 2

1. Newtons

feet on bathroom scale

Scientists usually use a metric unit called a Newton to measure force. One Newton is about .225 pounds—a bit less than the force we'd need to exert to lift a stick of butter off a table. The Newton is named after Sir Isaac Newton.

How do we know how strong or weak a particular force is? Let's think about a force we encounter all the time: gravity. When we weigh ourselves on the scale, we're really measuring how strongly the force of gravity is pulling us down onto the scale. So, if a person weighs 130 pounds, she can calculate her weight in Newtons to be 578 N.

130 lbs x 4.448 N/lbs = 578 N


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