SCHOOL: Armstrong Elementary
GRADE LEVEL: 5th
PROGRAM: Newton’s Lab
INSTRUCTOR: Scientist Davis
DATE: Friday, October 4th 2013
TEACHER(S) NAME: Amy Tew, Amber McKoy and Heather Godwin
Scientist Davis’ Experience:
Today I taught one of my favorite programs that we do here at Science Fun for Everyone. Newton’s Labs covers Newton’s Laws of Motion, which I love to teach because the topic lends itself to hands on teaching so well.
We begin with a simple explanation of Inertia, Mass, and Action and Reaction Forces with some really fun demonstrations to hammer home the ideas. We then use our knowledge of the three laws to predict the motion of 4 different types of objects, each with varying mass. In order to make sure that the force put into each object stays constant, we use miniature catapults to launch the objects across the room! The look of excitement and anticipation on the student’s faces when I first show them their catapults is priceless!
The goal of the activity is to land three objects in a relatively small basket, and through trial and error, the student’s gradually learn that the objects with minimal mass accelerate quickly but slow down quickly due to wind resistance, while the objects with the greatest mass accelerate’s slowly because of its greater inertia. As an educator, I find this activity extremely rewarding, because the hands on activity so clearly illustrates the concepts which we have been studying as a class during our program.
I was impressed by how clearly the students at Armstrong grasped the concepts which we covered today! The student’s quickly identified that the objects with mid-range mass traveled the farthest because they had enough mass to overcome the drag of wind resistance, but were not so massive that they were impossible to move in the first place.
Today was truly a pleasure!
Thanks Armstrong 5th Graders!