- masking tape
- pairs of identical balls and objects (e.g., tennis balls, ping pong balls, beach balls, spools, etc.)
- two identical ramps or one very wide ramp
English Language Arts/Language/L.PK.MA.6: Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, listening to books read aloud, activities, and play.
English Language Arts/Language/L.PK.MA.1.e: Use the most frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by, with).
MA Draft Standards:
Physical Sciences/Motion and Stability; Forces and Interaction/PS2.A: Plan and carry out investigations of the behaviors of moving things.
Physical Sciences/Motion and Stability; Forces and Interaction /PS2.B: Using evidence, discuss ideas about what is making something move the way it does and how some movements can be controlled. [Cause and Effect, Stability and Change]
Head Start Outcomes:
Logic and Reasoning/Reasoning and Problem Solving: Classifies, compares, and contrasts objects, events, and experiences.
Science Knowledge/Scientific Skills and Method: Uses senses and tools, including technology, to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships.
Science Knowledge/Scientific Skills and Method: Describes and discusses predictions, explanations, and generalizations based on past experience.
PreK Learning Guidelines:
English Language Arts/Language 2: Participate actively in discussions, listen to the ideas of others, and ask and answer relevant questions.
Science and Technology/Technology and Engineering 27: Use the most frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by, with).
Explore Together (indoors): Rolling on Different Surfaces
STEM Key Concepts: The motion and speed of a rolling or sliding object is affected by the texture of the object and the texture of the surface on which it is rolling or sliding
ELA Focus Skills: Compare and Contrast, Following Directions, Speaking and Listening, Vocabulary
Have children explore how different floor surfaces affect how far a ball travels after leaving a ramp.
- Divide the group; have half the children stand on the (tile, wood) floor and have half the group stand on the rug.
- Have each group describe the texture of the surface they are standing on.
On chart paper, write the question “On which surface will the ball go farther?” and draw a two-column chart beneath it.
- Ask children to make predictions, and write their predictions on the left side of the chart.
- Have two volunteers demonstrate rolling identical balls on each surface.
Then set up two identical ramps side by side—one on the smooth floor surface and one on a rug. Tell children they will be exploring what happens to objects after they roll down the ramp, along the floor, and come to a stop.
- Encourage children to use the tape to mark where each object stops.
Let children freely explore what happens to an object after it rolls down the ramp, leaves the ramp, and comes to a stop.
Reflect and Share
Once children have explored sending objects down the ramp, have them share their observations. Ask children what happened and log their responses on the right side of the chart. Have them ask and answer questions about how and why the balls traveled different distances off the ramps. Encourage children to consider the size and weight of the objects in their discussions. Ask questions such as,
- What did you notice about how far the spool rolled after it left the ramp on the floor as compared to the ramp on the rug?
- Why do you think the objects that roll on the rug usually don’t roll as far as the objects that roll on the floor?
- Why do you think the distance the beach ball rolls is farther than (or not as far as) you predicted?
- What do you think it is about the texture of the floor that makes the tennis ball roll farther than when it is on the rug?
Take It Further: Have children work in pairs using yarn to measure the distance the balls traveled. Give each pair long strings of yarn and safety scissors. After measuring the distance an object traveled, have children glue the yarn on a paper and label the name of the object or draw a symbol to identify it. Let pairs share their measurements.
Adaptation: If younger children will be working in a group, you might prefer to have each child do the activity individually, with one-to-one supervision.