Toys that Teachby: Christine Herald

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Using toys to teach basic physical science concepts is a great way to engage students through hands-on experience with familiar objects. This article contains several activities that use toys to help students investigate average speed, acceleration, wavelength, potential and kinetic energy, and the Law of Conservation of Energy. With a little imagination, you can teach just about any physics concept with a toy, and your students (literally) will have a ball.

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Reviews (4)
  • on Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:13 PM

This article is a no-brainer. Toys engage children. The article uses toys; toy cars to teach about speed and acceleration; a bouncing ball illustrates elasticity; and a slinky to teach about wavelength. The article has complete activities for each of the topics. Not only will these activities excite your students, hopefully this will help educators look toward the toy store for much more inspiration. This article is only the beginning. The Learning Center has much more to offer about toys and learning.

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

  • on Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:11 AM

This article uses cars, track, slinky, and bouncy balls to teach average speed, acceleration, wave lengths, and the types of materials affect bounces. Each activity has it's own page complete with procedure and assessment questions to lead the discussion on the activities.

Jaime Kupfner  (Parkersburg, WV)
Jaime Kupfner (Parkersburg, WV)

  • on Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:33 PM

This article offers detailed information and complete lesson plan design on how to use simple and easy to find toys to teach potential and kinetic energy, acceleration, wavelength and frequency. I especially like the lesson plan ideas presented – they are practical and easy to follow. The information is presented in an easy to implement format – from article to lesson plan. The supplies are basic, and would not require a tremendous amount of money to secure. If necessary, students could be required to supply their own for their group. Overall a great article if you are looking for practical, yet active lessons to engage students in some of the concepts within an energy unit.

Susanne Hokkanen  (Orland Park, IL)
Susanne Hokkanen (Orland Park, IL)

  • on Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:24 PM

You often hear about teaching basic physics concepts with toys, and this article gets to the point quickly with 4 very detailed lesson plans with science journal or follow-up discussion questions. Wave length, Speed, Acceleration, and matter in a bouncing ball.

Alyce Dalzell  (Peyton, CO)
Alyce Dalzell (Peyton, CO)

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