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Force and Motion with Kindergarten
Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:32 AM
I am working on a force and motion lesson for 4 and 5 year olds. I will probably begin with the story Sheep in a Jeep. I will have students stand up everytime there is a push and put hands on their heads for a pull.
After that I would welcome some thoughts as I want to make sure what I do is appropriate for the grade level,
33360 Activity Points
Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:40 PM
I'm so happy I saw your post. I have been a middle school science teacher for 22 years and am currently in my second year as the K-5 grade science teacher. We also have a pre-K class here, so this Spring I'm going to meet with them and want to use Forces as my lessons with them. You have helped me focus the direction I want to take this class. Thank you.
1545 Activity Points
Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:54 AM
What a great question. I checked the Pedagogical Implications (PI) section of the Force and Motion SciPack for ideas on how to respond, I wounder what others here think? The PI state that students at this stage (K-2) are not ready to fully understand the relationship between forces and motion. But they should be making careful observations and descriptions of both the motion of objects and the effect of pushes and pulls – so you are right on track.
Some ideas for observations may include: (1) Things move in different ways (forward, backward, left, right, zigzag, fast and slow, etc.); (2) You can change the way something is moving by giving it a push or a pull; (3) Things fall to the ground unless something holds them up; (4) Magnets can be used to move things without touching them.
What do others think? Have you done Force and Motion activities that you can share with 4-5 year olds?
Force and Motion (SciPack)
34122 Activity Points
Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:25 PM
Kinesthetics is so powerful at this age and I suggest that you start with descriptions of motion. Brainstorm with the students. Ask, " How would you describe if something is moving or not?" "Let's all sit very quietly? Are we moving?" "Is anything around us moving?"
Will all of the boys please stand up and go to the front of the room. "Did they move?" Will all of the girls please stand up and go to the back of the room. " Did they move?" "Are you moving now?"
Here is a large sheet of paper and some crayons. Everyone take one sheet and four crayons and draw ' motion.' We'll all get a chance to talk about our drawings and share ideas with each other.
The teacher leads the brainstorming but does not interject. Naturally, the students have been exposed to the 'ethics' of acceptable brainstorming.
This is a great way to find out what students think about motion; what moves; how things move; and why we think things move.
An activity after this one might be to introduce the idea of a 'home place' and ask students to move forward x-steps, back x-steps etc. varying the number of steps and the timing of the steps by snapping your fingers at different rates. This introduces motion along a straight line, away from the 'origin - the home place'; toward the origin, backward, moving along a straight line slowly, moving along a straight line quickly, moving at a steady pace (constant motion); moving at a pace that gets faster, and faster, and faster. Intersperse these actions by having the students 'draw' what they think is happening. You are setting the stage for powerful ideas on motion. Actually, the students are replicating motions examined with motion sensors and the classic 'kinematics of a student' activities.
After the young students have quality notions about motion, I would then ask, " What makes things move?" Only then, would I lead them into talking about forces. First explore motion, then explore the forces that cause motions.
Have fun, and please report back to us. We are very interested in what emerges, Kathy.
ps, if you have any questions, please send them my way
45890 Activity Points
Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:49 PM
A simulation that may also be of interest to you, Kathy. Just let the kids explore. I am posing it after a small paragraph that I have used with professional development with elementary school teachers in learning about motion.
Meet Elsie –the ‘real-time’ steady motion Gal.
She has the coolest ways to inveigle you to reflect on position versus time and velocity versus time graphs.
Here is a special learning tool from the Jersey Cow. (Say, I believe in diversity! Also, I heartedly thank the University of Oregon for sharing this skating cow with us.)
Set the velocity of the Jersey Cow, maybe starting at 1.0 m/s, and watch the position versus time and the velocity versus time graphs taking shape as the Elsie skates across the screen. The graph on the left is the position versus time plot of Elsie’s motion as she skates, the one on the right is velocity vs. time. http://jersey.uoregon.edu/vlab/block/Block.html
You may have to cut and paste the url into your browser. It might be fun to learn how the students observe and talk about the lines on the screen that accompany the cow's motion. Only observe and describe :}
Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:00 AM
Thanks for the ideas. I will continue doing some more research and put together a lesson of NO MORE than about 30 minutes due to the attention span of young children.
Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:00 PM
I didn't find anything on push and pull, but I did find a couple of K-2 articles in Science and Children on motion. They may be of use to you.
is where you will find the article entitled
The Early Years: Objects in Motion and
The Early Years: Roll With It at
79588 Activity Points
Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:06 PM
There is a STEM resource in the NSTA LC that has 27 correlations to state standards. It touches upon most every force and motion topic. The resource is called 'Gravity Racers', and the link to the page is:
7210 Activity Points
Sat Nov 20, 2010 3:00 PM
Thanks for this reference, Kathy. I'm going to explore it for future use with ES/MS teachers.
Isn't it great to explore all of these ideas together? We reinvigorate each other and I was just struck with this:
Let Us Give Thanks - For NSTA, the OnlineAdvisors, and the opportunity to grow and to learn from one another. Happy Thanksgiving!
:) Patty Rourke
Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:05 AM
What a fun age to work with. Once you start talking they will have a million examples of force and motion. I would use toys that might be found in the classroom like some toy cars and such and they move to some examples they might be familiar with like pushing a shopping cart. I agree with Flavio that you should keep it simeple and use observations but I think if you start with a simple demo such as you pushing a toy truck they will then come up with hundreds of examples of force that they experienced. I might even go as far as letting things drop and see if they know about gravity. Ask them why they don't float in the air.
Have fun. I love starting them with stories. Then you have their full attention.
101470 Activity Points
Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:36 AM
While scrolling through my library resources I found this NSTA Article. I hope it helps.
The Early Years: Roll With It (Journal Article)
Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:24 PM
I have to thank all of you. I am getting very excited about this project. I will actually be working with the 4 year olds as the University of Western Alabama where Kathy Chandler is Dean of Education. Kathy is the immediate past president of the Society of Elementary President Awardees. We are having our winter board meeting at the University .
Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:33 PM
Now that you've snagged our attention, please upload and share your lesson plan and for sure, tell us all about how it was received in Alabama. We look forward to it. :}
Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:31 PM
Another good book for starting discussion about motion is Wheel Away by Dayle Ann Dodds. Afterwards you can take the children outside and have them roll hoops.
Betty Zan and Rosemary Geiken are very persuasive in the January 2010 Young Children article, Ramps and Pathways: Developmentally Appropriate, Intellectually Rigorous, and Fun Physical Science, also described in other works. The children I work with are still beginners but are interested in this activity every week.
Thanks for this discussion,
6280 Activity Points
Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:33 AM
Thanks Peggy for this article! The timing is perfect. I have just purchased 4 books for exploring Push, Pull, Movement that I will use in the next few days to begin writing my plan for working with the four year olds when the SEPA board meets at the end of the month at the University of Western Alabama.
As I begin this process I know I will have questions that I will post on this thread. I will also share my lesson plan as a draft here hopefully by the end of next week. At that time I would love some input. I was thinking about starting with "Head , Shoulders. Knees and Toes" followed by a quick discussion about how we moved. Thoughts???
Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:03 AM
Children like to do the Head-Shoulders-Knees-and-Toes, going at different speeds to be silly. A question off the top of my head is: will the discussion be about the external movement of their bodies or what happens inside to make the external movement? The children might have trouble getting the internal push or pull by muscles but I don't have any experience to base that on. Of course a few may have watched a program on TV about muscles and can tell all about it!
Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:11 AM
I was thinking about external movements of their bodies..hands to heads, toes etc....
I also think the internal piece would not be developmentall appropriate for this age level.
Is there another song that might work better? I was hoping to include music as well as physical movement in the lesson.
Thank you for your questions. Probing and clarifying questions help me to think through my ideas, not mention it is great having a dialogue such as this with a colleague.
Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:38 AM
Kathy I'm always happy to share and learn. Here's another song that has motion, very silly, fun, and a good teaching tool--Tooty Ta by Dr. Jean. Posted on a teacher blog and available on her albums, er, CDs. Her NAEYC sessions are always full of early childhood educators having fun!
See more action songs on the Songs for Teaching website.
Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:27 AM
Yea Margaret, for jumping into this discussion and invigorating it with this article and your salient comments. Betty Zan and Rosemary Geiken are very persuasive in the January 2010 Young Children article, Ramps and Pathways: Developmentally Appropriate, Intellectually Rigorous, and Fun Physical Science -- often we overlook more recent Journal articles and this one is so pertinent. I look forward to hearing how Kathy and others use it with ES children. Your voice indicates that you have great success with these types of activities.
Margaret, what do you teach?
Fri Dec 31, 2010 8:41 PM
Thanks Patty-- Please call me 'Peggy' : ) I write the Early Years column in Science and Children and am interested in bringing the early childhood education world and the science educator world closer together. I'm hoping that Kathy (or some of her collaborating teachers at the University of Western Alabama) will add a comment about her Force and Motion project on the NSTA Early Years blog. See my post about ramps at http://nstacommunities.org/blog/2010/08/16/are-you-ready/
I teach at several preschools in northern Virginia as a science specialist. I love working with the children but I think children learn more when science is facilitated by the classroom teacher. By not being in the classroom full-time I miss many "teachable moments" and cannot sustain science inquiry at the level I know children are capable of. Ideally I would like to work as a science coach or mentor, if funding were available.
Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:35 PM
I will certainly post to the early years blog after and maybe before the experience. I have been reading and thinking and now I have to get down and dirty and make some decisions about what I am going to do so that I can have some of my colleagues review my plans to make sure I am on the right track.
I have now the following books: Sheep in a jeep, Move iT! Push and Pull and Forces Make Things Move. I like pieces of each one. I am pretty sure I want to explore the concepts of moving, push and pull. With the exception of Sheep in a Jeep, all of the books go too far for 4 year olds.
Peggy, I also miss the classroom and wish I could could be a science consultant for young children. You never know....
Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:58 PM
Update: Tentative Plan-Lesson 1
Song-Heads, Shoulders , Knees and Toes or the song the Hokey Pokey.You put right hand in and shake it all about, etc. Then we will talk about movement. ( 10 minutes )
Read Sheep in the Jeep..and identify movement ( 15 minutes )
Do movement activities individually with balls, marbles et (15 minutes)
Draw an example of movement using large paper, crayons( 10 minutes)
My Follow Up : Lesson 2
Exploration of marbles, boxes, trucks, etc . and how they move.
Questions to elicit types of movement
Science investigation about movement
Read aloud & Closure discussion
All of the lesson 2 is an elaboration that includes the investigation in the Science & Children written by Peggy Ashbrook in "Roll With It[in the Early Years column.
My Follow Up : Lesson 2
All of the lesson 2 is an elaboration that includes the investigation in the Science & Children written by Peggy Ashbrook in "Roll With It[in the Early Years column.
Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:00 PM
Now I need the REAL experts to help me...the kindergarten teacher.
Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:23 AM
by Kathy Renfrew, Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:32 AM
[i]I am working on a force and motion lesson for 4 and 5 year olds. I will probably begin with the story Sheep in a Jeep. I will have students stand up everytime there is a push and put hands on their heads for a pull.
After that I would welcome some thoughts as I want to make sure what I do is appropriate for the grade level,
I taught in an elementary science lab last year and I did a forces and motions lab with kindergarteners. I've attached my detailed lesson plan, but here's a quick overview of the lesson I taught:
First we discussed what a force is and investigated how things (like our chairs, the classroom door, etc) move by pushing and pulling. I gathered common household/classroom objects like hot wheels cars, staplers, balls, kitchen timer, etc and I gave one item to each student. Using a venn diagram, made from hula hoops, the students placed their items in push, pull, or the push and pull categories. Students them returned to their seats and completed a venn diagram with different pictures of pushing and pulling items (for instance a shopping cart, opening a door, a lawn mower, etc).
The kids really liked it. We did this lab during the first nine weeks, but all year long the students were able to explain that they could "force" things to move by pushing and pulling.
Good luck and have fun! It's always so exciting to see young kids have fun doing science!
Force_and_Motion_lesson_plans-K.docx (0.13 Mb)
40795 Activity Points
Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:46 AM
Thank you for the lesson plan of what you did with a kindergarten class. I found it very helpful to read throught it. I see the work you did as being lesson 2 in my force & motion unit for young children.
I think?? I am going to stay with the concept of movement for my upcoming event. I have created a lesson plan for my day at the University of Western Alabama. I am attaching my lesson plan so others can use it as is or revise the lesson to fit their purpose. I hope people share if they choose to use the lesson.
Maybe, this could be a first lesson for a force & motion unit for PK - 2 that could be created by forum participants.
I will post again about how this goes after I do this leson next Friday.
Music,_Magic,_and_Movement.doc (0.04 Mb)
Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:48 PM
I am hoping that you will share those song websites at the science songs discussion thread, too. It is under the public forum heading "General Science and Teaching" and the specific thread is "Science Songs". Thank you.
Maureen and Kathy, thank you for the lesson plans. Not having taught kindergarten, it is very helpful to see how physical concepts are presented at different grade levels. It will be neat to hear how your lesson went after you present next Friday, Kathy.
Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:33 AM
This site is a source of science songs. You can preview but there is a cost to purchase CDs
68500 Activity Points
Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:34 AM
Oops the "homepage" link is http://www.songsforteaching.com/sciencesongs.htm
Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:48 AM
This website (last updated on January 7, 2011) contains information on over 3500 songs covering a vast range of scientific and mathematical topics as well as a variety of musical styles. It is part of the National Science Foundation's National Science Digital Library and has been featured in the NetWatch section of Science magazine.
The database is searchable! There are various options for use and/or purchase
Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:40 PM
Thanks, Pam. The science song junkie in me loved listening to some of the lyrics and tunes on that site.
I came across a website from Jefferson County Schools in Tennessee. It had some neat free games for all grades. It had one for kindergarten students that had to do with the force of gravity. I got stuck on the second mission of the Gravity game. I guess I had better go back to kindergarten to be successful. My grandson wouldn't have had any trouble with it!
Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:05 PM
Pamela, thank you for continuing this thread with your great song and kinesthetic activity resources. I especially appreciate your reference to the National Science Foundation's National Science Digital Library. So many teachers are not aware of this resource and may have not taken the time to become acquainted with it. May I ask you to consider telling us a bit more about it and what it encompasses, please. Thanks a bunch.
Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:03 PM
In addition to teaching about pushes and pulls, students can also be introduced to the idea of work and possibly power as well.
While measuring force is more advanced, they could probably talk about which push/pull is more/less.
3795 Activity Points
Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:48 AM
Never knew there were so many URLs focused on songs for science and math. Thanks for broadening my horizons. In reference to Kathy's Hokey Pokey specificially, and being a VT Hokie fan, you can imagine we sang this song a few times while in the stands during football and basketball games. When I saw the actual spelling, a quick google search reveals that many question the origin of the song...interesting "twist" for an ancilliary topic if one of the children ask, where did it come from--gets at the nature of attribution in some respects, but just really being a die hard Virginia Tech alumni, thought interesting:
4160 Activity Points
Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:41 PM
My daughter used to like an old book I found about a kid stretching a rubber band from his bedpost down the street, on a train, a boat, a plane, rocket... to the moon and then gets sprung back into bed. I found an amazon link to the book http://www.amazon.com/How-Far-Will-Rubberband-Stretch/dp/0671693611
I teach AP physics. I think very young kids can understand force and motion. Probably not worry so much about specifics. You might do better to concentrate on inertia. That things tend to do what they are already doing. If they are still they will stay still unless something changes them if they are moving they will keep moving in a straight line unless something changes them. Really if you are talking about Force, you will wind up discussing acceleration which is too much. Let me think some more on this.
18550 Activity Points
Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:44 PM
Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:46 PM
Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:45 PM
Here I am. I said I would tell you about the actual experience in Alabama. Well the first piece of information it is necessary for you to know is that I worked wth 3 year olds and a couple of 2.5 year olds. I started with the word Movement/Moving. When I asked the students about moving they told me they only move so they can watch TV. I will be very honest and let you know that for a second or two or three, I wasn't sure where to go. Then I realized that the students did not recognize the vocabulary, they had no experience with the words I was speaking..so I knew I had to provide experience or find some connection to their prior knowledge.
I decided to move on to the Hokey Pokey. That was a good move. We sang and danced and the students were able to make connections between moving their arms, feet, nose etc and the concept of moving.
Okay, this is what I did. Before I share more of what actually happened, I am wondering what your thoughts are about this concept development?? Please share .
Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:07 PM
"You put the TV remote in, you put the TV remote out..."
Yes, it was a great move to switch right to the example of motion, Kathy.
So now they know what you mean by motion and movement. You could also play a version of Freeze Tag or Statues. You play music and when you stop it, after a short period, everyone stops moving. Move--don't move--move--don't move.
We move our bodies but what about things that don't move by themselves? The motion of animate beings vs inanimate objects may not be a big leap at this age as long as you don't get into a discussion about what is "alive".
Fun side story: The housekeeping area had several old AC remotes and a few children began using them as Wii controllers, pointing them at the rectangular radiator which was the "screen" and pretending to play a Wii game. Others used the remotes as TV remotes and the play microwave oven as the TV.
What is/was your next move?
Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:52 PM
What was my next move?
After we did the Hokey Pokey, I handed out cars, balls, and different objects that would slide. Well, the sliders were not a big hit. The balls and cars worked beautifully. They rolled and bounced happily for a bit, probably about 10 minutes. I then collected the materials and I asked them if they had any words to describe how the cars and /or balls moved. The children were able to come up with ROLL and BOUNCE. We then said "roll" a number of times. If space had allowed, I would have asked them to show me roll with their bodies.
The last part of the lesson was when the students had a piece of drawing paper where they drew something about movement.I then wrote on papers short phrases or sentences they told me about how the ball or the car moved.
I remember feeling very flustered wondering if I had actually achieved my goals for the lesson. After much reflection, I think the answer is yes. I think the students moved forward in their understanding of motion.
While I am not actually able to go back and work with those 3 year olds again, I am very interested in pursuing a dialogue about what would be a good next step?? Just pondering....
Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:17 PM
Your lesson sounds like it went off beautifully, if not exactly as planned. That often happens with me. : ) The children have good ideas to try and the ideas I like best don’t always interest them.
Do you think they will be ready to move on or will want to revisit the initial activities for a few weeks?
I wonder if articulated dolls (action figures) would be a useful model to compare with their own bodies?
Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:08 PM
Well I too am pondering. I think if I went back I would go back first to the original question, "What is movement?" and see if there was any change in their thinking.
I then think the exploration needs to continue. I think action figures might be a great way for the students to manipulate limbs and see movement while in a small space.
I would so like to go back :-)
Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:09 PM
Hi Thread Posters,
What a great discussion we have going here! Kathy, thank you so much for sharing your reflections on your lesson. I've actually added a block to the bottom of my lesson plans where I can do a post-lesson reflection of what worked, what didn't, what I'll change the next time I teach the lesson, etc. It's so much easy to do when the lesson is still fresh in my mind instead of trying to remember a year later!
I really appreciated your ability to improvise during your lesson. It's not always easy to have a plan B, but you never know when things will unfold 180 degrees from what you planned! One technique I've used to help combat gaps in vocabulary is the ABC-CBV method. It stands for Activity Before Concept - Concept Before Vocabulary. This technique helps give young students a reference in context that helps them understand the vocabulary. I've also found that very young students sometimes have trouble writing, but they have endless creativity and and make excellent drawings. I have a kidney bean table at the front of the room and as students finish their drawings they come up to the table for a "Scientists' Meeting" with me (upto 5 students can sit at the table. If the table is full, students take a number from a basket on my desk and come up in the order of their numbers when the next seat opens up). They dictate what they drew and I help them write the sentence.
I also liked Dan's idea to begin teaching young children about inertia. The more you introduce young students to scientific concepts, and let them have fun exploring these concepts through inquiry, the more likely they will be to pursue science in high school, college, and as a career.
NSTA Press has a fantastic book called Start Young: Early Childhood Science Activities that is an excellent resource for anyone who is teaching young students.
Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:23 PM
for more ideas to use with sheep in jeep, click here
50 Activity Points
Sun Feb 13, 2011 4:06 PM
Here is an article that I think you would find helpful when teaching young children about force and motion. The explaination of the terminology used is excellent and the article is brief but to the point.
Are_there_different_types_of_force_and_motion.pdf (0.04 Mb)
42660 Activity Points
Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:21 PM
Thank you for this link Sheep in A Jeep.
I will share this with some teachers I know who use this book as part of their reading program.
I also want to share that Sheep in a Jeep can be used in grades 3-5 for science and literacy. There is a chapter in Picture Perfect Science published by NSTA press.
One more time, thank you Tarsha
Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:52 AM
Here is a one-stop, free resource for teaching forces in motion at the kindergarten level:
You will find songs, vocabulary activities, books, assessments,collaborative activities, using think alouds, modeling asking questions and resources for ELLs.There's a push or pull ws that has pictures of common objects and asks the students to label them push or pull...like a wagon and a zipper etc. I love teaching kindergarten because the children are so eager to learn everything!
Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:12 PM
There is a fabulous book (recommended by NSTA) that is called Marvelous Moving Things early childhood science in motion. It is published by Terrific Science Press. I am putting together a Professional Development for some of my teachers and I am using this book to help with the workshop.
30 Activity Points
Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:52 PM
Thank you for the reference. I checked it out and will most likely purchase it. I would like to put together a a force & motion course for either preservice or inservice teachers. To make it even more challenging, I want to figure out then how to teach that course online.
Anyway, back to the subject we were discussing, this book looks great!!
Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:17 PM
I'm certain you have already done your workshop, but I have to tell you about this resource. Terrificscience.org has a series of three books for the early childhood level called Marvelous Moving Things, Colorful Crayons and Squishy, Squahsy Sponges. The series is called Big Science for Little Hands. They used to always be at the conferences, but Mickey Sarquis, the director of the larger program has retired. I heard that there may be changes to the program now. Anyway, Marvelous Moving Thingsdescribes activities like putting marbles in paint and then in a box and describing the motion, then trying to predict where the marble will go if you move the box certain ways. MMT and SSS are my favorites in the series. I also did a session at NSTA in which I used cookie sheets to make ice ramps because children in the south have fewer informal experiences with ice and other low friction surfaces so they have more problems with Newton's Laws of Motion. With ice ramps they can see that wheels don't turn, toys just slide down, etc. They can even try closing the door to a toy car and see that the car moves more on the ice. If you have an ice rink nearby, the unit could lead to a field trip there. Otherwise, if you're very careful, you can let students stand on the ice ramp and feel what it is like to try to take a step. The units in the book are interdisciplinary and include what students say as they do the activities. We used the books as introductions to science inquiry and interdisciplinary teaching at an early childhood conference that focused upon Headstart teachers.
9515 Activity Points
Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:22 PM
I just found a session at NSTA if you're able to go. Here's the info.
Thursday, March 10 2:00–3:00 PM
Newton's Laws for Preschoolers...Who Knew?!
Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Golden Gate 4
Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:58 PM
Hi Bambi and thread participants,
Were you (or was anyone else) able to attend this particular NSTA conference offering? If so, I would love to hear about it.
Also, I just finished reading and reviewing an article geared toward early elementary children. It provided some great examples of how to engage young children in data collection by using tally charts. I can see the idea being used to collect data on force and motion topics, too. The article is from a Science & Children journal.
The Early Years: Recording Data With Young Children
Was this one of your articles, Peggy? It was a great read - filled with ideas!
Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:10 PM
Hi Carolyn, Bambi, Kathy, and all,
Thanks for sharing my article Carolyn and writing the nice review. Kathy has pulled us into a wonderfully productive conversation here…reminds me of her workshop on science talk at the 2010 conference in Philadelphia.
I wasn’t able to go to the San Francisco conference. Are any documents from presenters posted online?
Here are a few physical science resources from NSTA for teachers to learn from:
NSTA Symposium: Energy: Stop Faking It! Online audio recording and slide show archive, January 15, 2009
"This Web Seminar took place on January 15, 2009, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Presenting was Dr. Bill Robertson, NSTA Press Author of the popular series Stop Faking It! Understanding Science So You Can Teach It. In this Seminar Dr. Robertson focused the discussion on concepts from his book Force and Motion. For more information about this web seminar, its presenter(s), read what participants said about it, and to see and download its PowerPoint slides go here"
Force and Motion: Stop Faking It! Finally Understanding Science So You Can Teach It by William C. Robertson. 2002. NSTA Press: Arlington, VA. This book is also available as an e-book at http://www.nsta.org/store/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9780873552097
Uncovering Student Ideas in Physical Science, Volume 1: 45 New Force and Motion Assessment Probes by Page Keeley and Rand Harrington. 2010. NSTA Press: Arlington, VA. Order at http://www.nsta.org/store/search.aspx
I found that I learned best if I just took my time, didn’t worry about being “right,” and actually did the activities given as examples in the books. I’ve been very impressed with the learning going on with the children who are exploring the “ramps and pathways” materials. The researchers at the University of Northern Iowa have written extensively about it—see the January 2010 Young Children article by Betty Zan and Rosemary Geiken, and the NAEYC book of the same name.
I'm sure others can add to this list!
Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:43 PM
Thanks everyone for hosting and posting to this thread. The voices are so enthusiastic and your sharing of ideas and articles is great. I knew that Kathy was investigating how to work with young children and interview them and interact with them to ascertain their understanding of motion but other things happened and I only returned to this discussion today. I have tagged the references and want to go and investigate. It is so important to look at metacognition and student language at this age as students examine and explain motion. What great insights all of you have. Thanks a bunch. Although I do not work directly with this age group, I deal with the many alternative conceptions that they express as high schoolers, many of which they formulated as young children examining their world and making personal sense of what the saw.
Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:02 PM
Thank you for your kind words. I think the improtance of this discussion goes far beyond its orinal purpose, this threaded conversation in light of the discussion that is happening right now on the elementary science listserv about making time for science in the clasrooms of young elementary students.
Teaching science to young children can be the making of some children in other content areas. Young students get get hooked on learning in science, their curiosity is peaked and then they are excited to read and write about science.
Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:23 PM
Hi Kathy and thread readers,
I receive via email SmartBriefs on Ed Tech sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Today there was an article about kindergarten students in a Maine school district getting iPad2s. I am wondering from those of you who work with young children, do YOU think that kindergarteners are too young for this expensive technology? The cost to the district was $200,000. Does the achievement they might experience merit the expense?
Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:56 PM
I am not sure how to respond. I don't have any experience with IPads. I am working very hard to come out of the "immigrant" phase in terms of technology. My gut feeling is that we would both be amazed at what kindegarten children can do with these tools to enhance their learning.
I guess I really want to know more before I give you a definitive answer.
I am wondering what others think ??
Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:22 PM
by Carolyn Mohr, Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:23 PM
Today there was an article about kindergarten students in a Maine school district getting iPad2s. I am wondering from those of you who work with young children, do YOU think that kindergarteners are too young for this expensive technology? The cost to the district was $200,000. Does the achievement they might experience merit the expense?
Since the iPad uses touch technology, I think it would be very easy for Kindergartners to learn and manipulate an iPad. My major concern would be breaking the screen. Since the iPad's screen is glass, they are relatively fragile and will break easily if dropped, stepped on, etc. Otter Box does offer a fairly robust case to protect the iPads, but that would be an additional expense. It will be interesting to see what the functionality and productivity analysis would show for iPad versus a comparable priced laptop usage in a kindergarten classroom.
Mon May 16, 2011 1:35 PM
Greetings Ms. Renfrew
A great expriment is to have depending on class size, yard sticks, toy cars, timers and tracks. Then students can go about rolling the cars and measuring distances and time. This activity can be modified in many several ways to suit the level of students.
610 Activity Points
Thu May 19, 2011 8:22 PM
Thank you for sharing another great activity to help younger children begin to understand force & motion.
This post made think about what units I might teach at each grade level that would deepen students' undersanding of these concepts as they go through the grade levels.
I think I will start with some of the units I have used in the past.
K-1 balls and Ramps ( Insights- kendall Hunt)
1-2 Sink and Float ( Science Technology * Children)
3-4 motion & Design ( Science Technology & Children)
5-6 Structures ( Insights Kendall Hunt )
Hmmm. Would I use these again now? I am wondering about the Next Generation Science Standards and what they have to tell me about all of this?
Mon May 23, 2011 2:52 PM
I know we are are eagerly awaiting the release of the Next Generation Standards! Here is a link to a NSTA article called
Anticipating the Framework for the Next Generation Science Standards on the NSTA website. There is also a great discussion about the Next Generation Standards in the General Teaching discussion forum
I think the activities have outlined are spot-on! Each of the activities encourages the students to learn in a hands-on learning environment. Will you be using the 5E model in these lessons?
Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:29 PM
maureen - I think you are right in that the important aspect of the ipad is the touch screen. Will it make it that much easier for little hands to manipulate items in a virtual lab I'm not sure. Bit it will make learning more personal. Think about how a 5 year old related to electronic media so much more naturally than we ever will. Being :stuck in front of a computer screen" even a laptop screen, is going to be as unpleasant as older students now feel about static print based texts or even worse - encyclopedias! If you can manage to keep them from being stepped on - I wonder if we will become more clever as teachers - watching a group of young engineers collaborate using an ipad to perform virtual experiments and then doing the same experiment live - possibly documenting it by using the camer function to record what is happening?
26190 Activity Points
Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:15 PM
Love the iPad I use now daily. There does seem to be something unique about the form factor, instant on, long battery life, and larger touch screen for input/manipulation. With geolocation aware features and apps that now may support wireless probes, and built in 3-G (4G eventually) connectivity, seems to be perfectly poised to support "in-field" collection and sharing of data, where you could push local relevant info or questions to students, and even eventually FaceTime collaboration as say local/national data is plotted in real time for analysis. School yards and parks become living labs! Other tablets will facilitate this as well! Future of technology convergence in tablets is bright--depending on how software and productivity apps used to support learning.
Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:49 PM
I am currently student teaching and I have an upcoming force and motion lesson coming up. I found your post very helpful as well as the replies you received. I look forward to doing this awesome lesson with my placement class.
Thanks for the help
835 Activity Points
Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:08 PM
let me know if you have any questions. I still love this idea but I might make a few changes to make it even more three-dimensional now. I have learned a lot since i first made this post. Good luck and dont forget to reach out if needed.
33360 Activity Points
Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:04 PM
A great extension for your lesson will be to show students how increasing force will increase the effect on the other object. For example, after the story Sheep in a Jeep and your activity, have them flick their fingers against crumpled pieces of paper. Instruct them to do it softly and tell them to note how little the crumpled piece of paper moved. Next, instruct them to flick it harder and let them see just how much further the crumpled piece of paper traveled.
2145 Activity Points
Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:44 PM
This is such a cute idea for a lesson. I like the idea of using a book and having the students do something active every time they hear about a push or a pull. It is a great way to keep them listening and engaged. I am a strong believer that students, especially young students, need to be active in their learning. Otherwise, they loose interest and get distracted.
To begin this lesson, maybe you could have a student open and close a door. Then ask the other students how that one student was able to open and close the door. This would be a good way to activate their prior knowledge and get them excited about the story they are going to read.
Kelly Anne McKinley
2935 Activity Points
Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:16 PM
i really like your suggestion. Opening and closing the door is a perfect anchoring phenomenon for this concept . Students might brainstorm all the questions they can think of about the door opening and closing. As the teacher you would record the questions. The next step would be determining which questions were science questions. Once you have highlighted the science questions, you could figure out which of the questions could be investigated as part of the instruction. Then you, the teacher would use student questions as well as your questions to drive instruction. By doing this, student voice would be included in the instruction making it even more relevant and exciting for kindergarten children.
Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:02 PM
I think this is such a cute and fun lesson for the students to do. This is especially great for those kinesthetic and visual learners. Incorporating a book is also awesome because the kids can view the lesson as a story, and become motivated to interact through the activities. Kindergarten is very hands-on; they learn and obtain much more information by doing the work. This idea is great because it uses all of those aspects and puts into one fun activity/lesson.
480 Activity Points
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