We had that great moment when a student poses a question and the students propose their own ideas as to why something is happening. D wondered, if he moved suddenly when he and his partner were pushing equally,why his partner lost his balance but he seemed to stay relatively stable. (We noticed on closer inspection D did move his body a bit to keep balanced.) His partner's reaction was also different when he was forewarned of the movement. The idea of structure, balance, stability, equal & unequal force was a big talking point in this lesson. All of these opportunities have the students figuring out how the world is working.
Connecting with our language focus on Writing to Explain, we recorded our explanations about what was happening during our 'push and pull' experiments.
Continuing our explanation theme we then came back to Newton's first law of motion and puzzled why the law says that moving things will keep moving in a straight line at a constant speed, when our experience is that things generally come to a stop or seem to 'run out of energy'. This led to an explosion of discussions about friction, air resistance, football, airplanes, car crashes, smoothing surfaces to offer less friction, ice skating, waxing skiis............................. We're beginning to explore this idea of friction, but we need to experiment a lot more and research into this. We're wondering (among other things) why a plane can take a longer amount of time to go on the same journey on a different day. Could it be to do with the wind direction or strength? What is air resistance? Is this linked to friction? Can you reduce friction? Why does oil and ice help you move or slide more easily? Does the surface of a football effect how it moves through the air? Is a smooth ball better for football? Does wind direction help a ball move faster or slower through the air? Does the surface of a field effect how far a ball rolls? Why does Miss Judy wax her skis? Is it better to have an airbag or not in a car crash? Why do we have seat belts?
For me, it's really interesting to see where the students would like to take the inquiry next and support them with ways to do this. My hardest job is sometimes to know when to keep quiet(!) and see if the students can find their own solutions to their questions collectively and not rely on me to come up with the explanations. It's truly amazing to see them work through their ideas, often disagreeing, building on another's idea, feeling the tension when they almost think they've worked it out............and the satisfaction when they know they've got it!
N showed us how to do an interesting experiment where you count to 30 while applying pressure to your partner's hands and vice versa. Then you hold your hands close together and move them backwards and forwards gently. Here is N explaining what to do before we all tried it out. What a strange sensation we experienced!
P.S. I set a Learning Log today. It is due Thursday 3rd November. The instructions are stuck inside the journal.