Wednesday, 26 February 2014


When we got the flyer announcing the science fair at Tommy's school, we thought we would encourage Tommy to participate since, objectively speaking, science is awesome, and it is never to early to learn to be curious. But we didn't want to pressure him, since he's only in kindergarten (and I don't want to make him think he is obligated to enjoy the things I enjoy, etc. etc.) It turned out he didn't need much of a push - he seemed pretty excited about the whole idea. We figured he could start out with something pretty easy, like what happens when you soak a penny in various household liquids. Tommy was thoroughly unmoved by that proposal, stating flatly, "I want to learn about gravity."

OK, then. Gravity. Here's what I came up with:

From the experiment description I wrote for his presentation:

We set up a ramp and a track for the marble to roll down. We used blocks to raise the ramp in small increments. We used a stopwatch to measure the time it took the marble to go 10 feet along the track.

Basically, we rolled marbles across the kitchen floor - which all three boys thought was awesome. Tommy was in charge of dropping the marbles while I assisted with the stopwatch. Tommy put his ramp height and travel time data into a table and plotted his results. The experiment confirmed his hypothesis - marbles do indeed go faster if you raise the height of your ramp. Best of all, we had fun playing with physics.

We had a good time at the science fair itself, both presenting Tommy's project and looking at all the others. The boys were predictably impressed by all the volcanoes and other decidedly more messy presentations.

After we finished Tommy's experiment (and writing out the report), I asked him what his favorite part of the experiment was. "Actually doing it," Tommy answered. "The writing part was boring." I responded that honestly, that's pretty much how I feel too. Nobody likes writing papers.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Wow, great project, great post!