Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 18 Challenge- a lesson in Science

Tomorrow's activity is a little more involved but I really challenge you to DO this one.  I think this is the most fun activity we've done in quite awhile, and can be adapted in a hundred different ways.

It's a great activity to teach kids some beginning physics language, and start building their skeletal knowledge of pendulums.

Materials we used:
A Tennis Ball
A bar of some sort (we used an old wooden beam)
Two chairs to balance the bar on  (the other way I've seen this activity done is hung by the beams on the ceiling if you have a ceiling that has tiles, we don't unfortunately!)
Recycling boxes/cardboard tubes/any recycling material or light blocks

So I helped D build this, but here is my word of caution: if you have younger children, set up a separate activity for them while the older ones build their towers.  When D built his tower, C continued to knock it down with his hands, throwing balls at it, etc.  It was quite frustrating for D.

It was really fun to talk about how the pendulum works, other examples of pendulums (D asked me if a Tiger is a pendulum.... I said no, and he said, well what about his tail? it's like a pendulum.....  hmm... something I had to think about...)

He had to use different amounts of "force" to get it to swing the right direction and be able to knock the entire tower down.

Another really fun activity I've seen done to continue building on this concept would be "pendulum painting"

We haven't done this activity yet, just because I haven't had the time to build a contraption.  But here is an example of it:

So cool, and it is QUITE entertaining for kids.  If we had left this up in our house, I am sure D would have continued to use it for days.... but since it was in the middle of my living room, it didn't last as long!

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