Transportation was a great subject to teach science concepts like float and sink, motion and direction, and push and pull. When the children did each of these activities they had a great opportunity to use the scientific process – make a hypothesis, predict, experiment, draw conclusions; and they also got practice collecting and recording data – all important science benchmarks!!
I used this activity to talk about force and motion – I provided a bunch of different surfaces and the children tried rolling toy cars over them. Of course the activity was more worthwhile if an adult was nearby to ask questions and help children predict what they thought might happen. Then they recorded how easily the cars rolled over each kind of surface.
My husband built a few simple ramps for my classroom and the children loved to play with them. We experimented with different types of vehicles – watching how far they would roll, noticing the factors that made some cars roll farther than others. We also built ramps with hardwood blocks to see how the height of the ramps affected the distance vehicles traveled. We used the ramps for this activity too:
We also played in water!
Here are the masters for these activities:
We did another fun floating activity too. I bought a set of little plastic boats – they were 4 different colors. The children put one boat in the water at a time. Then they put metal washers into the boat – one at a time, and counted how many washers each boat would hold before it sank. They charted this information too!
Another science benchmark we worked on was Push and Pull. I brought in a sled and we took turns pushing and pulling – first in the carpeted hallway – and then outside in the snow. We also played with a wagon.
Each child made a book about push/pull. These books gave basic information about push and pull, and the children had to sort pictures according to whether the objects would usually be pushed or pulled.
Here are the clipart pictures that the children cut and pasted.
Here is a full sheet of push/pull clipart.