What's Going on Here...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Energy, Force and Motion Part II WOOHOO

I wish you all could have been there, but since you were not I took LOTS and LOTS of pictures!!! There are even a few video clips to help show the mood of my kiddos this week! I hope you enjoy these activities as much as we did. 
Here we go...

This portion of the unit dealt with friction and how wheels help move objects.

He is trying to push her... no luck.
We put tubes under the plastic box and as you can see by the picture she was flying across the rug!
We were comparing this flat rectangle with the flat objects we had difficulty moving with wind (paper clips, popsicle sticks, and paper). We talked about an easier way to move the block....
This began our discussion on systems - parts that are ordered to accomplish a goal. In this case our goal was to make our block move so we had to come up with a way to keep the wheels on the block. The first suggestion was sticks - I had toothpicks waiting!

The wheels kept coming off!
This suggestion was to put two in each hole instead of one.
The wheels wouldn't turn...so someone suggested that we put something on the end of the stick. I had nails waiting!

She thought the nails were perfect!
We talked about how many and where to put them. In a system it's important not only to have the right parts, but that the parts go in the proper place.
The finished product!
Everyone liked that idea.
Next, we measured how far our cars went with each trial.
We used non-standard units of measure - blocks, bears, etc.
The kiddos recorded the results of each trial on the flags.
We created a page for our Fact Book. The children picked their favorite ball tested previously (see prior post) and measured with adding machine tape.
This was my example after we chose our fact together and worked to sound out each word. I wrote with the children to help with letter formation. They chose the fact - this was not a "copy the board" activity.
This portion of the unit dealt with sinkers and floaters.
He was testing to see if some of the floaters could be made into sinkers.
I found this chart on an AIMS lesson. The kiddos chose a shape for their sail based on which one they thought would be best.
Again, we talked about systems and what we need to make our boats move.  She is testing her choice to see if it floats....JOY!
Each child added their first initial to their sail, then drew a diagram of their boat for their journal.

Let the trials and races begin!

We tested each boat to determine how many seconds it took to reach the end of the lane. The children checked the timer, told me the number and I recorded the number on a certificate for each child to add to their journal. This prompted LOTS of spontaneous discussions on more/less, 1 more than/less than, I need 1 less to win, number order... can't beat math integrated with science!
Two kiddos with matching sail shapes raced each other.

We had SO much fun with this integrated unit! I have to say I missed my cohort in crime, Kristi - it's the first boat race I've done without her in many years - boo hoo! 
Thanks to my other cohort in crime - who is now one of my parents - Amber for helping. I miss you both!
Oh well, on to clean up the mess and drag out the next unit....FARM! 


  1. Wow! This looks like a great hands-on unit to meet a tough state standard, Suzan.

  2. Thanks, Julie. I never liked physics, but this unit truly changed my mind. It's fascinating to watch them make connections and try out ideas. There was more math going on throughout this unit than I had originally planned. The kiddos teach ME!

  3. Love this! This is one of our science objectives. I searched the web over last year to find something and a year later found your great post. What do you use for the boat races? Thanks for sharing!

  4. You do SO GREAT with this unit! The kids are having so much fun and learning SO much! You are GREAT!!

  5. Kim - we build the boats with the same type of styrofoam rectangles we used for the cars, the sails are shapes cut from Foamies, and the masts are wooden skewers cut in half. I have a box full of "stuff" that we experiment with to see what makes a better boat (see the tub of water picture). The sail choice is based on prior lessons experimenting with things that "catch" the wind easily and those that do not. Does that help?

  6. Thanks so much, Julie. I hope it is useful.

  7. WOW!! This is something I dread to teach because we never seem to fill up the time. These activities are too cute. What are the boats actually "sailing" in??


  8. Kristin - My husband made these using vinyl rain gutters from Lowe's! When I started this unit (I won't tell how long ago it was...don't want to reveal my age!) I used a long under the bed box...that got old FAST! My sweet husband cut one long gutter into two lengths and attached the caps to the ends with water proof sealant. This is solved SO many problems!
    He also cut another one into 4 equal lengths, rounded the sharp points so I could use these as ramps. I keep them in the block center now so that the kiddos can continue to work with them.

  9. Find the latest used and new boats for sale.
    Great used boat deals and prices.
    More here used bayliner boats for sale