Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Little Bit of Balance and Motion


Our learning target is: I can balance a spinner.

Now that you are experts on balance and stability it is time to move on to the subject of motion. Today we will build something that moves. We are going to build spinners and use them to observe motion.

Each of you will get a shaft, two small disks, and two large disks. Your job is to find out how to put the materials together to make a balanced spinner. I want you to notice that the disks have little circular marks on one side. The shafts will be easier to push through the disks if you use this side.

You will work at your desk as you build your spinner. (Demonstrate) Are there any questions? (Dismiss)

(Call students back to carpet) Raise your hand if you made a spinner. What did you use to make your spinner? How did you get your spinner to start moving? How does a spinner move when it is working? What kind of motion does a spinner make when it is going? When something turns in circles or goes around and around and around a lot of times, we say it is spinning or rotating. The spinners you made rotate on an axis, which in this case is the shaft.

We need to write in our Balance and Motion journal. (Write as a group. Send students back to their desk to copy it in their journal.) 


Yesterday, we had the chance to create our own spinners. Today each of you is going to get a Spinning Design sheet. That is a sheet with three designs on it. First, you will cut them out. Next, you will try the first two and then you will design your own blank one using a pencil or crayons. Are there any questions? Your materials are already at your desk. When I tap you you may go back to your desk and get started.

It is time to put your materials away. Listen carefully to how we are going to do this. We are going to create one line and two students will put their materials away at a time. Once your materials are put away you will come to the carpet and sit down in your carpet spot.

Let’s talk about what we have learned over of the past two days.
-       What kind of motion does a spinner make when it is going? When something turns in circles or goes around and around and around a lot of times, we say it is spinning or rotating. The spinners you made rotate on an axis, which in this case is the shaft.
-       Is a spinner more stable when it’s going fast or when it slows down? Faster is more stable; when it slows down, it falls over so that is not stable or balanced. 

We spent the past two days experimenting with spinners. Spinners spin or rotate when they are in motion but they are not the only things that spin. Zoomers also spin when they are in motion. Today each of you is going to get a Zoomer. Your Zoomer is made with a string that runs through two holes in the large disk.

You will work the Zoomer as follows (Demonstrate):
1.     Stick your thumbs through the loops formed by the ends of the string
2.     Whirl the large disk around between your hands 15 or 20 times to twist the string
3.     Pull the string the string tight to start the disk spinning. Release.

Come to carpet and hand me their zoomer.

-       How are spinners and zoomers the same?
-       How do you start the motion of zoomers?
-       How can you change the spinning motion of a zoomer?


We spent last week experimenting with spinners and zoomers. Raise your hand if you can tell me the kind of motion the spinners and zoomers made. Yes, they spin or rotate. How can you tell when something is spinning or rotating? That’s right, it goes around and around on an axis.

Today you are going to work with a partner to create cardboard ramps. You will use clothespins to prop up one end of the cardboard to make a ramp. You will clip two clothespins on one end of a cardboard rectangle. You will clip a second clothespin on each of the first two clothespins to make legs. You will use the (show) plastic disks like wheels. (Demonstrate) Do not lean on the ramps, they will crumple.

(Bring students back to the carpet) How did your wheels move? Right, they slide and roll. When wheels go around on their edge, it is called rolling. Raise your hand if you have any ideas for getting the wheels to roll better. I have an idea. A shaft can be used as an axle. An axle is a rod or shaft to which wheels can be attached. (Show) Each group is going to get a shaft. I want you to see if your wheels roll better or more efficiently with a shaft.

(Provide small wheels) Do small wheels roll the same as large wheels?

Describe, show and demonstrate some of the interesting wheel systems students created.

Today we learned that things roll down ramps. We used two wheels the same size on an axle to roll straight. We used wheels of different sizes to make a roller that turns.


Yesterday, we experimented with rolling wheels. What kind of motion do wheels make? That’s right, wheels roll when they are in motion. Wheels are not the only things that roll. Cups also roll. You are going to get one large and one small cup to investigate to see how they roll.

Review how to set up ramps.

(Call back) Are your cups rolling? I’m hearing that your cups don’t roll straight. Why did the cup roll in a circle? Right, there is a big circle (wheel) at one end and a small one at the other. What determines which direction the cup will roll? Yes , the cups roll in the direction of the bottom (smaller circle). Does the smaller cup roll in a bigger circle or a smaller circle than the larger cup? (Smaller)

Pretend that your cup is a car. You want to park your car in the parking garage under your ramp. Try to make your cup roll off the ramp and end up parked under the ramp.

Now try rolling the small cup across the ramp in such a way that it ends up face down on the table. It can be done.

(Call back) What can be done to get the cups to roll straight? Fabulous ideas! When I say go you will go back with your partner and put your idea into action.

Distribute tape.

Add weight to the straight rollers.

(Call back) We need to write in our journal. What did you learn today? Weights can slow down, speed up, or stop the rolling motion of a cup. To make a cup roll straight, tape another cup to it and let it roll on the large ends. A cup will roll in the direction of the smaller end.