Friday, February 6, 2015

Making STEM Come To Life

In my first grade classroom, we have been studying about Force and Motion.  Our focus has been on push and pull and how these effect the force and motion on an object.  To begin our unit, my students did a scavenger hunt around the room looking for objects that they could push or pull.

The next experiment we conducted was to see if they could push or pull a wooden block using only a rubber band, craft stick, or string.  I gave very little instruction on what to do, and the results were amazing!  My kiddos are so creative!

At the end of the lesson, I had them summarize what they learned and all I can see is WOW!  Way more learning took place than if they had worked on a worksheet.

The final experiment for this standard was using the Hotwheels Speedometry set.!  I am so lucky to have such a great Instructional Tech Facilitator (AKA Sandy!) who can hook me up!  If you don't have one, check out the link and get your own for FREE!

I gave simple instructions, your goal is to have your car travel the farthest.  Nothing else. I gave them each track, connectors, 5 different weighted cars, loop extensions and a piece that could attach it to a bookshelf, desk, chair, etc.

For two days my kiddos worked on creating plans, building tracks, testing and discussing what they learned.  There were so many components of force and motion they learned, that would have never happened had they not explored it this way.  They discovered that the weight of the car effected how far it would travel. They also discovered that the height of the ramp increased the cars speed, which made it go faster.

During their building and testing, I had one recorder for each group take pictures and even some videos of their progress.  They then used the app Popplet to create a one page explanation of what they learned.

My students loved this project and especially loved the idea that this is what roller coaster engineers do!

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