Sunday, December 28, 2014

Force and Motion Experiments! Keeping Your Students Engaged

Hello! This is Crystal McGinnis from Missouri. Our school recently adopted the Next Generation Science Standards. One of the standards states that students will be taught force and motion including pushes and pulls. I remember having a very difficult time finding resources for this last year. With that in mind, I decided to create this unit to help my kindergarten students understand force and motion. My kindergarten students will complete five experiments (one each day), that will let them learn the basics of force and motion. The following are a few easy experiments that I will set up in my room. You can create these using easy to find objects.
Which Is Faster? Experiment
My kids will set up two ramps. I created these ramps out of left over Christmas cardboard and wrapping paper tubes. My kids will take turns testing the ramps to see how quickly the cars go down the ramps. They will see that the taller the ramp is, the faster the car will go. We will also test the ramps at the same height with different sized cars. Students will tally which car is faster. At the end, he or she will write their conclusion about the speed of the cars.

 Friction Experiment

My kids will use straws and marbles to test friction and its impact on movement. I will provide a straw and a marble for each student. Students will try to blow the marble on smooth surfaces and then again on rough surfaces.  They will see that it is much easier to push the marble on smooth surfaces. I will also provide different sizes of marbles for the students to see that it is easier to move lighter objects than heavier objects.
Penny Experiment (Lack of Force Causes No Movement)

My students will participate in an experiment where they will see that objects do not move unless a force causes movement. I will stack five pennies on top of a paper. I will quickly pull the paper from beneath the pennies. The pennies will stay in place. We will discuss that the pennies did not move because there was not anything that was pushing or pulling on the pennies. I will let each student try it. We will draw a picture of what we think will happen before the experiment, and we will also draw what actually happened. (If you try this experiment, make sure that most of the paper is hanging off of the surface before pulling it.)

Which Is Easier to Push? Experiment

I will provide my students with an assortment of small objects. Objects with wheels, balls, and objects with rough surfaces on the bottom. I will create a starting line. My students will practice pushing the objects from the starting line with the same amount of force. Students will see that some objects move much easier than other objects because of friction, size, and weight.
Pulling Objects Experiment
I will bring in a wagon for this experiment. Students will pull around different objects in the wagon. Some of the objects will be heavy objects such as rocks and a bowling ball, and some of the objects will be light weight such as stuffed animals. Students will see that it is difficult to move objects that are heavy. Students will then draw the "hard to pull" and "not hard to pull" objects on their recording sheet. We will then change up the experiment by trying to pull the wagon on different surfaces including bumpy surfaces and smooth surfaces. Students will determine that it is easier to move objects on smooth surfaces.

Pushes vs. Pulls Pocket Chart Sort

My students will complete this pocket chart sort. They will determine if objects are pushed, pulled, or both. We will complete this as a whole group activity. If you do not have a pocket chart, using hoola hoops as a sorting tool works perfectly. Place three hoola hoops on the ground. Students sort the pictures by placing them in the correct hoola hoop.
Pushes and Pulls Emergent Activity Readers

I always try to incorporate literacy into my science units. My students will read a book called "What Can I Push?" It discusses objects that are pushed and what makes it easy or difficult to do so. Students will them complete an activity on each page.
My Force and Motion Unit
These are just a few of the activities that I will be using in my classroom to teach force and motion to my kindergarten students. If you are interested in seeing more, check out the link below. This set includes recording sheets and instructions for all of the experiments, emergent readers, push/pull diagrams and activities, and much more.


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