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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

Building Science for the Future

This week on Sid the Science Kid we return to the classroom to learn about force and motion. When I first started writing this blog, I was worried about this cycle because of its emphasis on physics. As a student I systematically avoided this subject because it literally made my brain hurt. The concepts frustrated me and I remember feeling like “I can’t do this!” Little did I know that if I just relaxed and let the world around me lead the way, I might have been pleasantly surprised by what I could accomplish. Isn’t that a lesson we all wished we could have learned early on?
I am happy to say that I do think my kids are learning that the world around them can unlock the questions they have about science. Much of that skill has come from our investigations with Sid. When I looked back over the activities in the Force and Motion cycle, I saw that we had investigated all four of them. And upon reflection, I realized that these physics activities had long-term impact for Henry and Leo.
Friction is a great example. I think it has been at least a year since Leo and I slid around our house on the tile and on the rug wearing shoes, socks, and no footwear at all. Not only did Leo remember the concept and the vocabulary, but he was able to reenact the investigation for Henry. Now, when they are solving problems with their play, I can sometimes hear them reference “friction” and having too little or not enough of it.
Another activity that has longevity here in the Helfrich household is the exploration about inertia. It appeals to the boys because they get to roll stuff into a curb or against a wall. The toys go flying and they get the destruction-induced boy giggles. They aren’t even realizing that they learned about inertia, they just know that when the vehicle stops, they toy will not. It doesn’t matter that they can’t articulate that. What I really like is that someday, when they are sitting in a high school science class, they might remember when their stuffed animals flew off the skateboard. They will have background knowledge about science. I envy that!
On the Sid website there is a link to all the cycles under the Cycle Overview Tab. I know that I am supposed to be an expert on all things Sid, but even I forget the resources that available sometimes. Here is what I learned about physics:
Developmental research reveals that human infants know quite a bit about the physical laws that govern objects and events. Using particular experimental procedures, researchers have shown that babies are surprised when a ball seems to float in space, as if they expect it to fall because it is not supported. Infants also notice when one solid object seems to go through another one, as this is not something that “should” happen. These are just a few examples of what is called naïve physics knowledge.
As they get older, children can talk to us and tell us what they notice and think about the physical objects and events in the world around them. That’s exactly what Sid is doing this week when he and his friends ask, Why can’t I slide in my sneakers? Why won’t my play dough ball bounce? Why did Ignatz keep going when the skateboard he was riding on stopped? Why did my soccer ball go farther than I wanted it to go? Designed with physics education expert Dr. Noel Enyedy, each episode begins with an event that piques Sid’s curiosity. His observations take him, and our viewers, on explorations of friction, elasticity, inertia, and force. Through these episodes we hope to illustrate, for kids and their caregivers, that these concepts help us explain really interesting stuff that happens all around us, every day.

Interesting stuff happens all around us every day. That’s a great motto for living with preschoolers. So, give these activities a try this week. Many of us are stuck indoors due to rain, snow, cold, or stuffy noses. These physics activities are sure to keep your kids engaged just long enough to build some great science memories for the future.
I would love to hear how from you about your investigations. Leave a comment and share your experiences!

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
Jim Hensen Corporation logo CPB ViNCi MetLife The Rosehills Foundation S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation logo The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations logo

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