Let It Rollby: Kathy Cabe Trundle and Mandy McCormick Smith

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The authors used various science investigations to engage preschool and kindergarten-age children with explorations of motion and provided opportunities for them to develop their basic inquiry skills. Using everyday toys and objects is a realistic and captivating way to help young children understand the basics of motion. Read this article to learn how to incorporate motion in your early childhood classrooms.

  • Elementary
Publication Date

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Reviews (5)
  • on Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:22 PM

This article serves as a guide to assist teachers with getting students to learn through play, “incidental learning,” while utilizing scientific inquiry. I have seen this type of learning occur in my transitional kindergarten classroom. As a newer teacher in this grade-level, I have struggled with shifting from incidental learning to “intentional learning” once students have had time to explore the objects. I appreciated that the authors discussed how to have this transition occur. By reflecting on my own practices, I am realizing that I am not allowing my students enough time to play with the concept before delving into the content. To introduce the academic content, the author’s stressed the importance of scaffolding the scientific language and inquiry process for children to comprehend. Although I am already doing that, I was worried that I was doing it incorrectly. It was refreshing to read about the importance of scaffolding in order to support my student’s intentional learning.


  • on Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:34 AM

Motion is all around us. Young children at play experience motion in many contexts. This article explores ways to encourage young student to understand motion. First of all verbalization helps the educator to understand what these young children are thinking. The educator provides what these authors call ‘intentional learning.’ This is the same as guided learning or inquiry as students explore different variables. Formative assessment includes a walk around the school looking at real-world examples and then talking about what they know. They article is informative and makes sense. I was surprised they didn’t incorporate student’s drawings for formative assessment.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:06 AM

This article takes the natural curiosity of children about force and motion and adds to it for some interesting activities for preschoolers. They just play with cars and ramps for awhile and then have some questions asked of them and finally record some of their observations. They are doing basic scientific investigations.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:19 AM

Observing ‘incidental learning’ of young children as they play with ramps and objects rolling and/or sliding down these ramps provide the observer with a deeper understanding of what these children know. Using that knowledge helps to focus their learning to what these authors call “intentional learning.” This can be done by asking appropriate questions. The article culminates with suggestions for formal assessment with a list of what students should know. Following this developmental science inquiry activity provides the reader with an understanding of how children’s play can be used for observation of knowledge, guiding knowledge and finally assessing knowledge.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:23 PM

In this article, young children are provided opportunities to explore what happens to things in motion as they play with wheeled-toys, ramps, and various covered surfaces. What sets this incidental playing apart and makes it a rich learning platform is the addition of the time given to the children to actually walk the plank (so to speak) as they walk on a low balance beam with their arms at their sides and then with their arms out in order to increase their mass distribution. As a result of this activity, students were able to experience how increasing their mass distribution made it easier for them to stay on the path of the balance beam. Students might also “feel” how much easier it would be to move down a balance beam if it were to be set at a slight downward angle. Allowing students to use their bodies to help them feel the effects of various forces on their motions provides a hands- on, bodies-on approach to learning.

Carolyn M  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn M (Buffalo Grove, IL)

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