Monday, October 18, 2010

Levers and Forces

I am really enjoying our change to doing History and Science Units separately. It is so nice to really focus on one subject each afternoon rather than alternate days or try to do both in the same day. Our mornings are spent doing scripture, language arts, reading, writing, math and we have even been doing Latin. (We finally have added it back into our schedule) The afternoon is always devoted to, at the moment, science.

This week I started reading aloud a book about Issac Newton and we have been learning the 3 laws of motion. We have done a number of different experiments that illustrate each of the laws.

My kids can't get enough of these hands on experiments. They ask to do the next one as soon as they have finished this one.
I do make them stop and take time to do the workbook pages so they have to think about the experiments. They all love getting to draw pictures of the experiments.
But the laws of motion weren't enough. We haven't finished our book about Newton but my kids decided they really needed to break out our Knex kit that demonstrates simple machines. So we have added in Levers too. We built the three different types of lever.
A blance or scale is a 1st class lever.
A wheel barrow is a 2nd class lever
My kids really love building these projects. They want to do the whole book in one sitting. I have to hold them back a bit and make sure they understand why each is a lever and where each part is.
They are getting really good at telling me where to find the fulcrum in each lever. And we have talked a lot about where the load is placed and where the effort is applied.  The New Way Things Work book and videos (which we get from the library) have been very helpful in explaining this new vocabulary and elements of a lever.

A fishing rod is a 3rd class lever
Mostly my kids are just having fun.
And because they just couldn't resist we also built an elevator which demonstrates the next simple machine, the pulley.

Science has been loads of fun... maybe we will never head back to History.

1 comment:

Bibliophile said...

This was really interesting. I had forgotten about levers until I read about them on your blog. The children must have really enjoyed creating the levers by using the Knex blocks. They looked quite sturdy.