Today was the day of the Home Education Science Fair. We have now participated in a few of these fairs and I always find them such fantastic events and ones that are so good for the children. They enjoy sharing their work, as well as seeing what their friends have been up to.
I was lacking a bit of inspiration if I am honest about what to do for this fair, and Daniel and Emma weren’t offering up too much. As much as I love to think it’s all child led, the reality is that they sometimes need a nudge, and they don’t know what they don’t know. I decided we would run with something they’d enjoyed doing last year, and that was playing with a lego zip line they’d put together following a book we had been sent to review.
I wanted them to have a bit more understanding about the forces at work, so I talked to them about gravity, got them to think about what happens when we let go of a piece of lego. Why does it take longer to fall through a cup of water than it does falling straight down to the ground? What happens if we make the lego carriage on the zip line heavier, and why do these things happen?
Science is not my strong suit at all – it’s a subject I did the bare minimum in at school, but with the help of a couple of child focussed books we learnt about Sir Isaac Newton, his discovery of gravity and his three laws of motion.
We built the lego carriage for the zip line and weighed it, then set it off down the zip line, timing how long it took. We then added two more bricks, weighed it again and set it off down the line, timing it. As we added more bricks the carriage took longer to travel down, until eventually, it stopped about 1/3 of the way down.
The children knew the way to get it to move was to pull the top of the zip line higher, so we talked about why this made the carriage continue on its journey, and why it had stopepd in the first place.
We talked about how this simple experiment proved Sir Isaac Newtons’s second law of motion (that the heavier an object is, the more force is needed to move it).
We did some small bits for our display board, writing up a little about Sir Isaac Newton, his three laws of motion and finally the detail of the experiment we conducted.
We took our display along to the fair today and had a great time looking at the wide variety of projects completed. There were projects on micro organisms, space, the world underneath the street, cats eyes and their inventor, the digestive system and many many more. The children who wanted to, presented their work to their peers and all did so brilliantly. Daniel has grown so much in confidence these last few months and he happily talked through his project and explained what they had been learning about.
The next fair is a literature fair, and that is due to take place in April. I’ve not yet asked the children to think about what they want to do, but I’ve got some ideas if they’re struggling to think of something. We won’t start work on this one for a few weeks yet though.