Showing posts with label force. Show all posts
Showing posts with label force. Show all posts
I love giving primary kids a chance to explore science on their own!  Many of my Next Gen Science units have exploration stations built in because of this teaching core belief of mine.  Here's a look at the hands on Force exploration stations for kindergartners!


This can be as simple as using dry erase boards as ramps for cars, balls, or blocks.  Put all of these materials at this station and have students explore how the objects move the same or differently on the ramp.

My kiddo tried this angle first.  He just let the car go without pushing it.

Then, he decided to make it steeper to go farther.

But the table stopped the motion of the car because of the steep change in angles.  This was definitely not what he expected!

So then, he made the angle less steep.  And the car rolled the farthest at this angle!

Questions to explore at this station are...

How can we make the objects move down the ramp faster?


Which objects go down the ramp the fastest? Why?


Use recycled and empty water bottles and a foam ball to set up a simple bowling station.  Students will explore what causes the bottles to fall down.

Questions to explore at this station are...

What force makes the water bottles fall?

How can I make more bottles fall?


At this station, students will use (their own!) straw to try to blow cotton balls across the desk or table!

We discovered two straws were better than one! #thatface

Questions to explore at this station are...

What force makes the cotton ball move?

How can I make the cotton ball move slower?


Chair Pulleys

I love this station because when done right, it really causes kids to think!  Tie a rope around two chairs facing back to back with a bucket hanging from the rope.

Students must try to move the bucket around the chairs without actually touching the bucket!

Questions to explore...

What force is causing the bucket to move?

Why does this work without me touching it?

How can I move the bucket faster?



This is a popular one for boys!  Who knew boys were exploring force when they are role playing at their play work tables/construction zones!

Questions to explore with tools....

How can I force the nail/screws in?

How can I make them come out?

You can find these exploration stations and more force activities in this unit!
In kindergarten, students learn about force and motion through the Next Gen Science Standards.  And what better way to explore force and motion than through building rollercoasters?
{this blog post contains affiliate links to support my chocolate addiction and my little corner of cyber space}

Kindergarten STEM is tricky.  We want them to build and explore, but often times they don't have enough experience to build complicated things from scratch.

So, when Cooper and I tested out this coaster challenge, I knew his Marble Run set would be the perfect way to make this challenge more accessible for my kindergartner.

I read the problem slide to him.  And then he planed out his idea.

We just orally talked about his plan.  And then he got to work building his coaster.

It was a lot of fun to watch his brain and problem solving skills work.  Sometimes, the ball stopped its motion.  So he had to redirect it or turn the slides a different way.

In this picture below, the ball kept falling to the ground after it left the orange twist.  He couldn't connect anything else to it, so he rearranged the pieces so that the green piece would just sit underneath the orange twist and "catch" the marble so it would stay in motion on the coaster!

I absolutely loved the process my guy had to go through with this project.  It was true STEM with build, test, improve, build, test, improve....but with premade materials.  That simple scaffold made the critical pieces of STEM accessible to my kinder kid while still encouraging high level critical thinking skills!

In the classroom, I might limit groups to 10 pieces to build a coaster, but at home with one kid, I was able to be more flexible.  And, of course, my kid wanted to use every. single. piece. :)  Here is his finished coaster.

And the video of how it worked!

After he finished building and testing his coaster, we wrote about his coaster using the publishing page from the unit with the sentence stems.

Finally, he drew the path of his coaster to finish publishing his project!

You can find this STEM challenge separately here or in this Kindergarten Next Gen Science Unit on Force and Motion.

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