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Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners
Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners
4 Mar, 2018. 0 Comments. A Day In First Grade, Kindergarten, Kindergarten Science, Reading, Science, STEM. Posted By: Kristen Smith

Exploring simple machines with kindergarteners

Good morning, friends! We have been having so much fun this past week exploring simple machines as our STEM focus. Throughout the week we completed many investigations during exploration centers. My students loved these activities so I wanted to share with you what we did!

All of these lessons, activities, and videos can be found in my Simple Machines STEM packet available on Teachers Pay Teachers. (link here)

To begin our unit, we focused on levers. My students had been investigation levers for a while in our building center so the specific teaching point for us was on how and why a fulcrum works. We investigated this skill in BIG ways out on our playground during recess.

Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners

Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners

It was really fun to see my students help each other out and use teamwork to get the lever to work.

(If you are wondering why we used plastic measuring cups, it was because that is what was in our recess bag at the time. Sometimes you have to make do with what you have on hand! Monday I am packing our bag with bean bags so that we can investigate more and not have to watch our heads so carefully! {Although yelling, “look out” and “bombs away!!” was super fun, too!})

To enhance our learning about levers, we watched these videos:

Next, we began exploring pulleys. We read a few books on pulleys and then began exploring them inside our classroom.

To do this, I brought in a few pulleys that I purchased at Home Depot, some rope, and a few carabiners. I wanted my students to investigate how pulleys work so I let them explore with them for a few days before we watched a video on them. Our preschool friends were also exploring pulleys and they asked us to help them understand how to use more than one pulley together. Their question ignited a passion about pulleys in my class and they worked so hard to figure out a way to teach the preschoolers how the pulleys worked. One of my kinders exclaimed, “We can help them because we are in kindergarten and we NEVER give up!”

exploring pulleys in a kindergarten class

After they began to get the hang of using pulleys, we went outside to investigate some more! My students set up a pretty intricate pulley system on the playground!

Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners

They filled a bucket up with rocks so that it was a “heavy load” and carefully tied the rope to the bucket. (This was great for practicing fine motor skills!!)

Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners

Finally it came time to test out the pulley system!

Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners

“IT WORKED! IT WORKED!!”

Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners

My students used SUCH teamwork and perseverance to get this to work!

Here are some of the videos we watched to enhance our learning.

 

We also explored wheels and axles last week. To do this, we made waterwheels out of paper plates, paper cups, and tape. In true STEM form, I did not tell my students how to assemble their waterwheels. We watched a few videos on how waterwheels worked and then my students partnered up and came up with a plan to assemble their wheels.

They worked BEAUTIFULLY with each other! After a few attempts, one group “figured out” how to get it to work and helped the other groups create a successful waterwheel.

Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners

Each group created two waterwheels so that every student could bring one home.

Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners

Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners

Once they thought their waterwheel would work, they tested them in our sensory table.

Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners Exploring Simple Machines With Kindergarteners

I was so proud at how hard my students worked at completing their waterwheels and how they encouraged their friends during the build process. When we debriefed, the activity, one student said, “I didn’t like it when it didn’t work the first time, but it just helped my brain to grow and we figured it out!”

We truly had a blast learning about simple machines and will continue some of our explorations next week with Beyblade science and Rube Goldberg!

If you would like to try these lessons, they are found here!

STEM Challenges for young learners

 

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