Sunday, March 17, 2013

Force and Motion- A Lesson on Pushing and Pulling

This week we continued investigating force and motion.  The kids are really getting into their ramps so we have been making connections between our new learning and the ramps that they have been making.  We discussed the purpose of ramps and decided that ramps help things go down.  As the week went on, they also came to the conclusion that ramps help us get up too!  They noticed that there are ramps all around us!  They mentioned ramps in our school in one of the hallways and the slides on our playground.  They also noticed ramps on roads in the form of hills and ramps on sidewalks to help their bikes go over curbs.  I wanted so bad to point out that ramps help us go up, but wanted them to come up with that conclusion based on their own experiences!  Sometimes, we as teachers just need to wait and let them discover it, rather than just telling them!  (It's soooo hard!!)  All of the sudden someone remembered that there was a ramp that helped us get up on our play equipment on the playground!  So now they realized that ramps help us get down AND up!

They all now know that NOTHING will move without a force!  They are always asking "What kind of force makes us move?  What kind of force makes this or that move?"  So we investigated!  We came to the conclusion that every force is one of two things!  Pushing or pulling!  We made all kinds of things move, including our bodies!  We use our muscles to push our bodies and make them move!  We push a toy car.  We push and pull scissors to make them cut paper!  We push and pull our pencils to write!  I loved seeing them making connections with these two forces to real experiences!  To reinforce our learning, we did one of my favorite things and used art!  They made three dimensional sculptures using the two forces of pushing and pulling!
The first step was to make a plan.  Next, they used their plans and the two kinds of force to create their sculptures.

Pushing and pulling to create a sculpture.
The sculptures with their plans.
More sculptures with plans.

How did this connect to their ramps?  They need to PUSH to get their cars up a ramp.  But what is pulling them down the ramp?  They really don't need to apply a force themselves to get their cars down a ramp!  Hmmm....looks like a lesson on gravity is in order!


  1. What a fantastic idea , it shows how interrelated all subjects are. Thanks for sharing. My students explore ramps as well, you made me think . Thanks, Heidi

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Heidi! I am passionate about both science and art so I have fun using them together!
      Darla Myers