Ever wondered what causes the sinking feeling in your stomach when you are on a roller coaster? On Earth, gravity pulls us towards the ground, but the ground is in the way; it pushes up against you, matching the force exactly. It is this push that makes you feel heavy. Your organs experience a change in force, causing the strange feelings.
Imagine you are on the roller coaster……as you accelerate to the top, the chair pushes harder against your body This opposes the force of gravity and makes you feel heavier. Once you reach the top and the coaster starts to accelerate downward, your body naturally wants to continue moving upwards. The chair pulls away from your body, and you feel lighter.
As the roller coaster continues to drop, support of the chair is removed completely. You feel momentarily weightless before descending. When you are in free fall, every part of you is accelerating at the same rate. This gives you a similar feeling to weightlessness. Lack of any upwards force from the ground means your organs are not compressed. Even though you are falling, they are floating inside of you. Our bodies aren’t used to this change in force on our organs, and messages are sent to the brain telling us that something is wrong!!
GCSE scientists, you need to know all about forces and motion, and be able to explain Newton’s Laws. For help with this, try our new guide, “How to work with Newton’s Laws”. The guide includes an explanation of Newton’s first, second and third Laws. As always there are questions to try, and answers to check your understanding.
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