Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Toy Car Direction Investigation

This is the first activity in my unit, Toy Car Physics! Our purpose in this activity was to practice documenting our discoveries, and to cement the relationship between the direction of  force (aka a "push" or "pull") and the resulting movement.  

Before we started, I marked a sheet of poster paper with four directions: back, forward, left, and right.  I showed the paper to my kids and explained that we were going to push and pull a toy car along the paper.

Next, I gave them their data collection sheets, with a matching picture.  Since my kids are both still early readers, I had them circle the word in the picture that matched the word in the sentence.  Then, I prompted them to color in the arrow that they felt represented the direction the car would go when pushed or pulled in that direction.  The example shown is of the expected answer, but I was surprised at how often they chose an unexpected answer.

Finally, I let them try pushing and pulling their cars of choice along the grid on the floor.

They marked their answers on the observation sheet, in exactly the same way they had marked their hypothesis earlier.

Once they had finished their investigation and marked their observations we discussed how their two sheets compared, and what we could conclude from our experiments.

My major surprise with this activity is how challenging they seemed to find it, however they completed it happily.

If you would like a copy of the worksheets pictured above, you can download them for free from my Teachers Pay Teachers Page.   (Click here to go to my Teachers Pay Teachers Page.) We continued this unit with some toy car story play.

If you do try this, please let me know how it goes with your students!

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