Let the Dogs Out: Using Bobble Head Toys to Explore Force and Motionby: Andrea S. Foster

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

Even the simplest of toys can be great tools for promoting interest in physical science principles. Test the basic physics, systems, and simple machines of bobble toys, then help students build their own versions.

• Middle
4/1/2003

Community ActivitySaved in 196 Libraries

Reviews (6)
• on Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:21 PM

Oh I can't wait till my physics unit to use this activity! The engaging activity of using a bobble head dog to teach Newton's Law and levers along with systems and scientific method is great. I love how the author includes a very nice rubric and step by step list for the students to use too!

Jaime Kupfner (Parkersburg, WV)

• on Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:15 AM

This great article takes a simple bobble head toy and turns it into a force and motion lesson. Students then "engineer" their own bobble head toy. What a great way to think about the mechanism of the toy, how it works, what is happening, and then constructing it!

Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

• on Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:11 PM

The article outlines having students observe a bobblehead dog, and use their observations to design and construct a bobblehead of their own. Neat idea and application of simple machines.

Susan German (Hallsville, MO)

• on Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:19 PM

This article describes a lab for middle school students using bobble-head toys and exploring force and motion. I can't wait to try it! The author gives enough detail that it is replicable, but allows for individual class changes that will meet my informal science education needs.

Laura Jones (Herndon, VA)

• on Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:22 PM

I used this activity in my middle school Design and Engineering classroom to help students understand Newton’s First Law, inertia and class one levers. Students were engaged throughout the activity because they were intrigued with how the bobble heads worked. The article is clearly written in terms of materials, procedure and a rubric. I extended the activity to include the system of how the bobble heads work, which took this activity to a very high level. Students had to think not only about how the lever worked, but the energy transfers that occur within the system. The most difficult part is locating the bobble heads, I found mine at Oriental Trading Company. Another resource is bobbleheadtoys.net.

• on Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:05 PM

A middle school teacher uses inexpensive bobble head dogs to teach students about force and motion. The author using the 5E Model of Learning lays out how to use she uses the dogs to explore force and motion. A rubric is provided this inquiry lesson. The teacher tested it out with high school physical science class before presenting it to her students. The message is that the simplest of objects becomes a great idea for a varied learning experience that excites both the teacher and the students.