Our class had a great time following the Winter Olympics in Sochi! There were many great math opportunities, as well as great lessons on sportsmanship! (The class was particularly impressed by Shaun White's enthusiasm and genuine happiness for the gold medal winner, when he missed out on winning a medal himself. It was an amazing example for them to see!) The kids loved surveying each other on their favorite winter sports, and keeping track of the daily medal count for various countries and graphing those results. We also experimented with the Chrip app. I "chirped" winter sports photos to their iPads, which they chose from and imported into Story Kit. Then they wrote about which winter sport they would choose if they were an Olympian! We rounded out our study by creating Olympic torches and gold medals for our Kindergarten gold medal champs!
Whacky Winter Weather provides real life lessons in friction
During our winter unit on Forces & Motion, we talked quite a lot about friction. We did experiments where we moved toy cars through different materials and had to decide which provided the most friction. The students were able to determine that larger materials (dried beans, rice, etc.) provide more friction since the cars had more resistance and a harder time moving through them, while water and waxed paper provided little friction. We also looked at the treads of our shoes and decided which would provide the most and least friction. This all became a real life lesson with all of the ice days we had over the last couple of months! The students absolutely understood why cars all over Austin were slipping and sliding all over the iced-over roads!
The kids had a lot of fun with movement experiments during our study of Forces & Motion! After we learned about simple machines such as levers & ramps, the first experiment was a challenge for them to move a ball without touching it, given certain materials (boards, pencils, etc.). The students quickly figured out that ramps made from the slanted boards are the easiest way to create motion, but some figured out to use side-by-side pencils in a rolling motion to move objects on top.
In another experiment, we rolled various sized balls down a ramp to push a toy car across the floor, in order to see which sized ball would move the car the furthest. Our findings were that the baseball moved the car the furthest, while the ping-pong ball