Theory of Relativity for Kids?

Theory of Relativity is a little complex, it's hard even for me to understand it completely. My son asked me what is the Theory of Relativity and I need to explain it to him in a way that he can understand and wont bore him to death. Where can I find a funny way to explain the Theory of Relativity to a kid?

asked by Savannah in Science | 116625 views | 08-08-2009 at 06:21 PM

This is a very complex subject. I guess the easiest way to paraphrase it is to state that there is no such thing as an absolute position or speed or momentum in the universe. That means that when you ask questions about these things, you have to ask "compared to what?" This results in some pretty non-intuitive observations.

For example, in Special Relativity, we learn that the speed of light is a constant, regardless of the speed of the source or the observer. This means that if you measure the speed of a light beam from a star that is receding from you at .99 x the speed of light, that light will still pass you at exactly the speed of light. The same is true if you are departing or approaching a star - that way no one can tell whether you are moving or the star is moving, because there is no fixed or favored frame of reference. This in turn does things like affecting the passage of time in frames of reference that are moving at high speeds relative to each other, etc.

In General Relativity, the same principle is applied to things like gravity. We find that gravity is not really a force, although it acts like one. It is a warping of space-time (sorry for the buzzwords) in a way that changes what we think of as straight-line motion through space into a curved path oriented toward objects with mass. The force must be applied to keep us from falling in that direction; the falling is caused by gravity.

answered by Igor | 08-08-2009 at 06:25 PM

Well it's not easy to explain Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity to kids but here's a video where the theory is explained in a cool way

The steps Einstein took to develop his special theory of relativity are as follows: First, Einstein tried to understand what must be implied by the fact that light travels at a speed independent of its source. From this, he realized that time and space are not simply two unrelated concepts; rather, they must be linked in a space-time system whose properties appear most dramatically when objects move very fast and are observed by two different observers moving with respect to one another. His final and greatest step led him to discover and clarify mathematically many new things about the world that are important in each and every frame of reference.

answered by Howard5 | 08-08-2009 at 06:28 PM

ty now i get it
thanks now i get it when i get older i want to study things like this it has always been a hobby to me. so i figured that i would be easier if i know these stuff now

answered by Ryan | 11-22-2009 at 03:35 AM

Help please!
I am eleven years old. I need to know what General Relativity is, summed up in a few sentences. I have Googled it and don't understand what most sites say. (I have a report due on Friday the 29th)

answered by Guest | 01-27-2010 at 09:46 PM

Originally Posted by Guest View Post
I am eleven years old. I need to know what General Relativity is, summed up in a few sentences. I have Googled it and don't understand what most sites say. (I have a report due on Friday the 29th)
same, whit me

answered by Guest | 05-06-2010 at 06:35 PM


answered by Guest | 06-22-2010 at 09:20 PM

about the video
thanks this video has been of great help

answered by Guest | 06-26-2010 at 05:49 PM

help! i have an assignment due Thursday 22/21 and you get a word to study and then present and explain in scientific terms, my word was relativity, i know nothing about it, i googled it, no help i still don't know what it is and it's Tuesday night!!! HELP!!! PLEASE!

answered by annonymus | 07-20-2010 at 08:14 AM

I have a problem. Will you please help me to make it more simpler?

answered by Guest | 09-07-2010 at 03:32 PM

i get it
If you took 2 clocks and put one on a space-shuttle headed somewhere and put the other one on a non-moving surface, the one that is on the space-shuttle would travel slower because it is closer to the speed of light. The closer the clock gets to the speed of light, the slower it tells time. So if an astronaut went on journey, then when he came back he would be younger that say, his twin who stayed on the earth.
I hope this helps all of u.

answered by Guest | 10-21-2010 at 12:44 AM

this so ausome
i am 11 years old and this really helped me in my understanding of the relative theory. thank you.

answered by Guest | 11-04-2010 at 03:39 PM

thank you
Thank you for this information.
I too am a child learning about high level science.
I am only in the sixth grade and practicing science has always been a hobby.
I checked up other websites for the same information but it was difficult for me to understand.

answered by Guest | 12-04-2010 at 07:07 AM

I need to write five paragraphs on Albert Einstein's math life. I was given him to research for this "great mathematician" project. I am in grade 6.

answered by Guest | 12-29-2010 at 10:45 PM

Awesome video, helped me a lot.

answered by Guest | 03-23-2011 at 01:09 AM

The Theory of Special relativity basically states that time is relative to speed, but at extremely high speeds. When traveling near the speed of light odd things happen: rulers become shorter and time slows down.
Although traveling over the speed of light is impossible, traveling at 99.99% time is substantially slower on the flight than on Earth. Let's say you were 25 and returned from a light speed journey 20 years( on the spacecraft) later. Your twin brother would be 71 and you would be 45. As you can see, you essentially traveled into the future.

As for the General Theory of Relativity, basically gravity has an effect on how slow time is. Research has been done and scientists have found that clocks in basements were behind clocks on skyscrapers. On a more intense level, if you were to stay near a black hole for two hours, the massive gravity would slow time down so much that when you returned hundreds of years could have passed.

answered by Guest | 05-02-2011 at 10:30 PM

Thanks a lot for the video, it really helped. I went to other sites and they really didn't help me understand it but this is great it makes a lot more sense to me now.

answered by Guest | 06-01-2011 at 01:27 PM

Originally Posted by Guest View Post
Awesome video, helped me a lot.
The video is blocked, I also want to see it please.

answered by Guest | 07-14-2011 at 02:09 PM

I've read loads of stuff stating that time slows down if you travel fast , but nothing that explains why. If I travel to Mars and back in 1 minute (by my watch, in my spaceship) you're telling me when I get back a few hours will have passed ... to me that doesn't make sense ... please somebody tell me why/how this is accepted to the true?

answered by Guest | 09-22-2011 at 07:28 PM

Thanks for doing my homework for me Guys, you just made it a lot easier and I didn't even have to waste time searching for this on the web.

answered by Guest | 10-04-2011 at 09:08 PM

Well, I find this Theory of Relativity explanation clear and easy to understand.
Thanks to whoever took the job to make it.

answered by Guest | 10-11-2011 at 11:26 PM

Thanks a lot. You guys helped me with my assignment which is due tomorrow and I had done nothing about it until now.

answered by Guest | 10-26-2011 at 04:17 PM

Thanks, this will help with my topic. We are doing a group assignment and I needed to come up with an easy explanation about the Theory of Relativity, this helped a lot.

answered by Guest | 11-01-2011 at 01:18 AM

Originally Posted by Guest View Post
If you took 2 clocks and put one on a space-shuttle headed somewhere and put the other one on a non-moving surface, the one that is on the space-shuttle would travel slower because it is closer to the speed of light.
Oh cool! But WHY is it like that?

answered by Guest | 11-11-2011 at 05:45 PM

I am in seventh grade and I completely love science and physics. I have a science fair coming up in June 2012 and I have to do an experiment on anything I want. I have to state a problem/question (I wanted to do is time travel possible), then I have to make a hypothesis and some background research, i have to do an experiment and state the dependent and independent variables. I don't know what experiment I could do to prove time travel is possible. Could someone help me?

answered by Guest | 11-29-2011 at 06:56 PM

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