Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fun with Motion

This week our home learning focused on the concept of motion.  For these lessons we played outside the box and only a couple time referred to the Usborne book Illustrated Elementary Science Dictionary (this link will take you to my consultant web site).  The book is written for children in the early to mid elementary grades.  I also read to her out of a book for older children--The Usborne Illustrated Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, and it was too wordy for her attention.   I did use some concepts from it however, it would be great for fourth graders and up.  The Elementary Science Dictionary was the perfect fit for us as a go to science book.  I am very happy with it.

On the first day we experimented with a spinner, paper, ink, and a toothpick.  We placed the paper in the spinner turned it on.  We then applied one color first in the center of the paper and watched what happened.  We then applied a second a small bit further out, and then a third.  Each time we discussed what we thought it would do and why.

For instance, we discussed what motion is.
Motion is how something moves.  For something to move there must a force applied.  
This prompted a discussion on force and how many things inherently resist force (inertia).  We discussed equal or balanced force and unequal or unbalanced forces.   We discussed tug of war and then demonstrated unequal force by holding hands and pulling.  Mommy is bigger than Bear so when mommy pulls on Bears hand there is an unbalanced force.  If Bear and Sunshine pull on each others hands that is an equal force because they are the same age (we didn't complicate it with size and weights). However, we did discuss how when something is bigger a greater force is needed to move it or if a force is greater than an object it is unequal. 

We then used a toothpick to apply pressure of various types to various areas of the paper and ink.  We hypothiszed what the outcome would be.  One thing we were surprised about if the center of each paper remained farily intact.  We decided that this meant the center was constant.

The next day we explored clay and a child's sized potters wheel.  Here we learned more about applying force to an object in motion.  We also discussed velocity.  Admittedly she was more interested in making a clay pot than learning about velocity at this point, but you can be surprised what they are taking in.  During handwriting on Thursday she out of the blue asked how this related to physics.  When I was six I didn't even know the word physics. 

 On Thursday we made paper.  This was an interesting experiment tying friction --the ripping of the paper--in with motion. Along with learning more about velocity.  We learned some big words like acceleration and terminal velocity.  I think we will discuss terminal velocity a little bit more in a couple weeks with another project involving eggs.  *grin* 

Have you ever made paper before?  It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  Frankly, I don't know why I had never done it before.  A word of caution however, use a blender, not a food processor.  I learned the hard way.

In the midst of all this we also discussed how many parts make up a whole,  We have been discussing money and how many coins make a dollar for a while now and I decided to give another visual with her pattern blocks one day.  Of course we had to get creative with it as well.

It has been a very good week with plenty of art and nature thrown in.

What do you do to teach science to young children?

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