I had always wanted to try putting pennies on a railroad track. I had heard rumors that a train will flatten them as it travels along the track, but I wanted to see it for myself. I knew my children had never heard of anyone trying this, so I thought New Experience #18 would be a fun experiment for all of us.
We were a bit nervous about getting so close to the tracks, but I purposely picked a track with a long straightaway. We would see a train long before it got close to us. We laid our pennies and an old game token on the tracks and walked at least 30 feet away. As we waited, we discussed what we thought might happen as the train rolled over our coins. Leah didn’t think anything would happen. Luke thought the pennies would fall off the track. Neither of them guessed that the pennies would be flattened.
The kids put their hands over their ears as the train rumbled by. Once it was gone, we ran over to the track. We were all amazed to see the coins flattened on the tracks. It was now difficult to see any detail of Lincoln’s head or any of the wording on the coins. I asked the kids why they thought the coins were so flat. Luke thought it was simply because the train was heavy. I agreed, but I wanted him to realize one other important point. The train’s wheels are made of metal, so they act differently than a car’s wheels. We placed a couple of pennies near my car and I drove over them. Nothing happened to the pennies at all. We compared the pennies and the differences in the wheels of cars and trains. New Experience #18 was simple, quick, and fun for all of us!
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