What's Going on Here...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Energy Force and Motion

I love teaching the typical Transportation unit, but most K's can sort and classify vehicles according to water, air, and land with little trouble. Why waste one more second teaching something they already know, or can grasp in one lesson? If you know me you know that if it's not fun and interesting there's little chance for that lesson.... So, my Transportation unit now looks like this...
We begin by listening to Greg and Steve's "Listen and Move". Then we read the book, Silly Sally by Audrey Wood and list ways we move on a chart. Next, we play "Mrs. Estes Says" by choosing ways to move from the chart. It's great to hear the children applying their literacy skills to read the words within a science lesson!
After experimenting with how people move, we experimented with how objects move. We then sorted objects by push, pull or both. We created a Venn on the rug, but the hula hoops have been removed.

Objects can also move with "invisible forces". The object of this lesson was to move the ball to the end of the string - no further - without touching the ball....
When you allow children time to experiment it is amazing what THEY discover. These children reported that the "slippery" surface made the ball go faster. They commented on the slippery surface of the ramp as well - I had not thought of that! These guys flipped the ramp over to slow the speed of the ball, then decided to move to the rug. You can guess that a lesson on friction was next!
All good scientists report their findings. This is their Science Journal which was read at the group meeting. Again, using our literacy skills in a meaningful context!
On another day we used various weighted balls to move a toy truck. The children measured the distance traveled with yarn.
Two ways we integrated math - using non-standards units of measurement (yarn) and creating a graph to report our findings. 
On another day the children measured the distance with blocks and counted the number. You cannot beat that number sense!

Comparing lengths traveled. Notice how another group organized their experiment by placing the ball used in the pile of tiles. These "thinking" activities are so important to little minds. I did not tell them how to organize their findings, just that they needed to find a way to let us know which ball did what....
 I watched this group count the Unifix cubes twice to verify this number. Good ole number sense!

Check back - this unit is not over!


  1. LOVE this! We just finished our unit on movement- let me just say ours needs a lot of help! I am excited to try some of your ideas- thank you so much for sharing- Do you have a specific "science" time during the day? How long do you have? Thanks again!

  2. Glad to see you back blogging and hope you are doing well.
    Ms. A

  3. I'm so glad this is helpful!
    Mrs. O'Donnell - I do this unit during my math time since it integrates math skills. I try to do a lot of integration to help get everything in - especially this time of year. I have about 1 hour most days.
    Ms. A - I'm feeling pretty good. I am doing hormone therapy, a drastic diet change and lots of prayer. We'll see in a few months where we stand. Thanks for checking in!

  4. I love this activity. I have been trying to decide, how I wanted to teach this, but I couldn't put my ideas into action!

  5. Project Lead the Way is a great resource. There is a pushes and pulls unit.

  6. wow lovely idea... youve just inspired me on how to set this unit rolling !