In this lesson, the children will learn about how and why things roll, and use non-standard units to predict and measure distances.
The science behind the play (notes for teachers)
Several factors will cause an object to roll or slide. This begins with a force (i.e. a push or pull) that acts on the object. Gravity is a force that pulls objects towards the earth or down a slope.
The shape of an object affects how it moves down a slope. Objects such as balls, which do not have corners or edges, will roll. Other objects will tend to slide, rather than roll, due to their shape. Size and texture determine the speed at which an object rolls or slides.
Ask the children to describe what it is like to go down a slide.
Discuss why/how people move from the top to the bottom of a slide without using their bodies to assist them. In other words, explain that people move down a slide because of gravity, which is a force that pulls objects towards the earth.
Tell the children that you are going to read the beginning of a story about a group of people who are preparing the STEAM Park for its daily visitors. You can show them the inspiration photo or use the figures to act out the scene.
Tape or glue all six of the track template pages together to comprise the entire length of the track.
Working in pairs or as a group, ask the children to take turns placing the bricks in order to build the sides of the track and the two smallest ramps as shown in the inspiration photo. Make sure that the children place the number bricks in the correct places.
Position the smallest ramp on the track template and ask the children to take turns rolling the cars or objects down the small ramp and then have a go with the bigger ramp.
Use a pencil to mark where each car stopped. You can use different colours to represent the different cars or objects.
Show the children how to record the result of each roll on their graphs. Make sure that they understand that there is a separate graph for each size of ramp.
Each child should have four different results graphs, one for each of the ramps. This will enable them to compare how far the cars or objects will roll after they have gone down each ramp.
Ask the children to predict how far each car or object will roll.
Consider asking questions like:
- Will it stop between numbers 3 and 4?
- Will it roll all the way past number 10?
- Were your predictions correct?
- Does it become easier to predict where the car or object will stop after you have observed or watched what happens a few times?
Consider asking questions like:
- How can you make a car go faster?
- How can you make a car roll farther?
Ask the children to build the large ramp that is shown on the in-box building inspiration card. (They will need to use the pieces from the smaller ramps.)
Have the children test the ramp by rolling cars down it and then challenge them to build a car that rolls past the number 10.
Refer to the image of the larger vehicle for inspiration.
The children will:
- Observe what happens when they place objects on a ramp
- Make predictions
- Measure how far objects move
- Use graphs to record data