Kindergarten students recently began a learning module that focuses on force and motion. In a collaborative class with Grade 8 students, they experimented with catapults, learning through play.
Through hands-on experimentation and self-driven inquiry the students are learning about different types of forces, such as pulleys, levers, and inclined planes. Students are developing an understanding of how forces can be used to move objects, and how this knowledge can be applied to relevant, real-life situations. In addition, they are looking at the relationship between mass and the amount of force required to move objects.
Mr. Pernechele's 8th grade science classes are also learning about forces and the Middle School students designed catapults as an introduction to a physics unit. One 8th grade class shared their catapults with the Kindergarten students, explaining to the younger students how levers work and how they incorporated them into their simple machines. Kindergarten love having older students come into their class - and becoming 'teachers' helped the Grade 8 students to consolidate their own understanding of the topic, and develop their ability to communicate what they have learnt.
Each catapult was unique in design and students were able to compare the different features. The kindergarten students particularly enjoyed being able to launch the 8th graders' catapults, trying to knock over paper cup towers or aiming for a target.
In the coming weeks, the kindergarten classes will make their own catapults and will certainly incorporate some of the ideas and advice from the 8th graders.
Written by Michelle Gonzalez, Kindergarten teacher