Walk like an Animal, Talk like an Animal
Scientists know that if you observe an animal carefully, you can discover predictable patterns of motion. Animators need to be true to these patterns to draw believable animal characters and even aliens. Model makers must construct miniatures that can move realistically. E.T., despite his overall appearance, has facial features and expressions that aren't "alien" at all. The shape of his eyes and face is similar to that of a kitten or baby, a very appealing look to moviegoers.
Stunt Car Drivers
You've been experimenting with forces of motion. Gravity keeps pulling your car toward the earth. The steeper the hill, the faster the car goes. When it goes over a bump and into the air, gravity pulls it down, but momentum, another force, keeps it traveling forward. A "cannon car" works when a strong force (the cannon) is applied under one side of the car, causing it to flip up in the air. Motion is transferred from the cannon to the car. A "slingshot car" works when force is built up and then released, like when you stretch a rubber band and let it go. The cars eventually slow down and stop because of the force of their wheels' friction against the track and the car body against the air.
Follow the Film
The spools in this activity are really wheels turning on posts called axles, forming a simple machine. Systems of wheels and axles move film through cameras and projectors. When the driving wheel is larger than the second one, the second spool will make more turns, at the same time turning faster. If the driving wheel is smaller, the second wheel moves more slowly. This is how filmmakers make a creature chase you at twice its normal speed. A film editor combines slow- and fast-motion special effects scenes with the scenes filmed at regular speed so that the movie you see at the theater all runs at the same speed.
Is It Live or Is It Foley?
All of the sounds you made are produced by vibrations. A sound can be duplicated if the patterns of vibration are similar. A wobbling cookie sheet can sound like thunder; a cup, lid, and straw like a lion's roar; and crinkling grocery bags like a fire burning. Your ear channels these vibrations to your eardrum. The vibrations are amplified and travel into the inner ear where they are translated into nerve impulses, which the brain interprets as sound.
More Upper Elementary School Activities