I picked up this fun book from the library and we read it today. It is called Why doesn't the Earth fall up? And other not such dumb questions about motion. by Vicki Cobb. T is 7 years old so the title of this book interested him. If you put the word "dumb" in it he finds it hilarious. We did not read the entire book but excerpts in the area of gravity. It is a cute book and I recommend it if you can find it at your library.
|Why doesn't the Earth fall up?|
|Gravity is a Mystery|
The materials and procedure are listed step by step for him to follow. He collected his materials and headed out to our backyard.
This particular experiment I first read about in a book called Montessori Today by Paula Polk Lillard. In the Appendix there is a section called "A Student's Reflections" where a former student recounts the first time she did this experiment in her Montessori school. It is also described in great detail in our Montessori R&D Functional Geography manual. Basically, you tie a rope (or a dog leash in our case) to the handle of a small bucket. The bucket is them filled about 3/4 full of water. The child swings the bucket over their head in large circles and then observes what happens.
|Yes, that is a McDonald's happy meal halloween bucket we are using. And we used a dog leash instead of a rope because that is what I had on hand.|
|The water stays in the bucket|
|Centrifugal Force pulls the water outward keeping it in the bucket|
|He was worried he might get soaked at first|
|Centripetal Force keeps the bucket moving in a circular path|
|When the Centripetal Force (his arm) was removed from the rope the bucket flies off in a straight line (this part we did with an empty bucket)|
If you have an energetic early elementary child I highly recommend this experiment. We all know that the more interested they are the more the lesson sticks. I think my son will remember these forces for a long time. Maybe one day he will think back on this lesson the way the former student did in Montessori Today.