Monday, October 20, 2014

Ramps and Angles

Last week the children were working towards figuring out why the cars moved down a ramp propped up on a shelf but the cars did not move as easily down a ramp that was placed much lower to the ground.  Many of the children while using the ramp placed near the ground ended up pushing their cars down on their own and pushed the cars all the way along the ramp.  I think the children were pushing the cars all the way along the ramps because they felt like the cars should move all the way down the ramp like they do on the higher elevated ramp.  I’m not sure at that point they were making the connection between the movement of the car and the angle of the ramp.

This week we propped up the lower elevated ramp a little bit to see if the children noticed a difference in how the cars moved down the ramp.  Initially, some of the children tried to push the cars down the ramp again, but then began to notice the cars moving on their own.  Some of the children looked surprised to see the car moving down on its own.  For weeks we have left the lower ramp at the same elevation so I think the children expected that the car would perform the same way, even if the angle was changed.

A few of the children attempted to change the angle of the ramp again, possibly trying to alter the results as the car moved down the ramp.  Most of the children realized physically pushing the car down wasn’t necessary.

I am interested to see what will happen this week – to build off this interest in the angles I would like to increase the angle of the higher ramp now.  I am curious to see if the children begin to comment on how the cars move down the ramp or notice that the distance of movement is greater with a higher elevated ramp.