Science Storytime: Ramps

January brings the snow, and it sure has this month. It was snowing pretty heavily, so I was not surprised when only two families arrived for Science Storytime. I kept the program very low-key, so our projects were not quite as organized as in the past.

Taking a page from the ALSC blog on a similar subject, We read the book Cosmo Zooms and talked a little about ramps and why Cosmo would roll down the hill. Then I brought out our ramps. The ramps I made by using some shelves that weren’t in use and propping them up on a variety of objects, such as chairs, tables, or various quantities of building blocks to create ramps of different heights and levels of steepness. We then rolled the cars down the ramps to see how the different variables affected the speed of the car. In part because I was more informal with the small number of children, I don’t think I was as successful in communicating the intentionality behind what we were doing, but the children were very engaged in rolling the cars down the ramps and adjusting the ramps to produce specific results, so I think there was still a lot of learning going on.

One thing that surprised me was the children’s insistence that particular cars were simply faster than others. I had a variety of Little People cars. Although each car was essentially the same as its cousins, they were different colors, with different decorations. The children were convinced that the race car went faster than the tow truck simply because it was a race car. In retrospect, I should have turned this into a learning opportunity and done side by side comparisons of each truck on each ramp, but at the time I was distracted by the unexpected eagerness with which some of the children wanted to rearrange the positions of the ramps to create faster or slower paths, and was busy facilitating that aspect of the activity.

No pictures, because I was too involved in helping move the ramps around to take any!

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