How can we introduce the children in lower grades into the world of physics? Certainly, step by step, by Simple experiments and learning through play. The studying of motion can become something which is “easy“ and nice, under the circumstances that it is shown to children through a series of interesting activities: by simple experiments and active participation of students, through pair/group work. In this way the students in the year four are given the opportunity to have more interesting and dynamic classes, link gained knowledge with everyday life and they will understand what they have learnt and such acquired knowledge will be more lasting.
The workshop was conducted as part of the thematic day Movement in cooperation with teacher Ivana Milošević.
The list of activities
STEP 1: With the song Iva's train, the students enter the classroom in train formation.
STEP 2: The following is a conversation about: Who / what is moving (looking through the window - a passerby, a bird, a leaf on a branch (); What is movement?
STEP 3: How do we know if we are moving? Experiment: One of the students is blindfolded, and the other two carry him in their arms and step forward. Stepping forward is replaced by stepping in place. What does the student whose eyes are blindfolded (not) notice, and what does the observer notice? Why?
STEP 4: Students sit in a semicircle and are given the task to move objects / bodies in different ways (push, lift, lock, rotate…)
STEP 5: What does the speed of the body's movement depend on? Students get the answer to this question by performing the following experiments, in pairs, with the help of materials and worksheets:
- Bottles filled with a different amount of sand – in the previous art class the students made clowns from the bottles which they had filled with different amounts of sand. They let the clowns roll down the “slope“, and they sorted them according to their speed and came to the conclusion that the doll with the largest amount of sand in it rolled fastest, in other words, the speed of the motion of an object depended on the amount of sand in the bottle/the weight of the doll.
- Dice, ball, cylinder – by the same strength (force) the students moved a dice, ball and a cylinder, made from the same material, of almost the same size. They watched the movements of those three objects of various shapes and came to the conclusion that the ball moved fastest, in other words, the speed of the motion of an object depended on the shape of the object.
- “The path” – the students made the paths from: a textile carpet, rushes and aluminium foil. By the same strength (force) they moved a toy car and reached the following conclusion: the car moved fastest on the foil and slowest on the textile carpet, in other words, the speed of the motion of an object depended on the type of the base.
- “The force“ of the impact on the object – two wedges have been driven into the wooden board. Elastic tape has been tied between them. By watching its motion, the students have come to the conclusion that the dice moves fastest when we tauten the rubber band most, in other words, the speed of the motion of an object depends on the force of the impact on the object.
- “The slope” – a toy car is placed on the board. the students move it by changing the incline and reach the conclusion that when the incline is raised suddenly, the toy car moves faster, in other words, the speed of the motion of an object depends on the incline of the base.
- “The pendulum” – the students made pendulums of various lengths from plasticine and cord. They moved them to the same direction at the same time, using approximately the same force and concluded that the speed of the motion of the pendulum depended on the length of the pendulum.
- Galileo’s experiment – having climbed up the ladder, the students let the three dice of the same size fall from the same height at the same time, made of different material (of wood, metal and plastics) and conluded that the dice touched the ground at the same time.
STEP 6: Reporting and discussion follow.
STEP 7: The map of the mind on the board represents the conclusion reached by the students together with the teacher, performing experiments and conclusions on what may depend on the speed of movement of various objects / bodies. The central concept of the mind map is in the form of a rocket.
STEP 8: All pairs have the same material for making the rocket: balloon, thread, adhesive tape, tube. Then they make and launch their "rocket". The moment they release the inflated balloon, previously glued to the tube, the air starts to come out of the balloon, and it moves along the rope.
STEP 9: Let's fantasize a bit. How far can we get with a real rocket? In the real world, something is constantly moving, and with the help of children's imagination and drawings, we can get far and high ?!
In Serbian classes the students are given the small pictures of these experiments and they have a task to describe each, using 3-4 sentences (story based on photos).
Through play and experimenting students are given the opportunity to enjoy the charms of physics. The written stories based on photos show that the students have understood how an object can be moved and what can impact the speed of the motion of objects. In addition, it has been shown that the cooperation between the general education teacher and the physics teacher came to fruition, taking into account all the implemented activities by the students and the atmosphere during the lesson as well.