Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tried it Tuesday-Motion and Design unit

This week is such a busy week. Yesterday my students took the state tests for science. Today I am attending an all day workshop on formative assessment, and on Thursday into Friday I am taking my kiddos on an overnight camping trip (I'll post more about that this weekend!) I'm in the middle of planning my giveaway for having 100 followers, if anyone else would like to help donate something towards the giveaway let me know and I will e-mail you. 

I'm excited that it is Tuesday...and that means it is time to link up with Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried it Tuesday.


Last week, my students and I began our Motion and Design unit in science. After a brief time completing the KW of a KWL chart in a small group we shared as a class. Then the unit starts with a bucket of K'Nex and a challenge. I ask the students to build a vehicle with their partner that can go 2 meters. They have twenty minutes to complete the challenge. I've learned from experience to partner a girl with a boy as much as possible. The students are able to get more work done when they aren't with their friends.

It is amazing to see what they try to build. It is really fun for me to watch their creativity come out. At this time of year I can easily forget that kids need time to explore and experiment because I am trying to "cram in" everything I still need to teach before the year is over. This unit gives me a chance to let the kids discover and explore on their own.

After the 20 minutes, the students need to draw the vehicle that they created. We talk about what they discovered in building their vehicles that allowed them to move the two meters. The kids loved "playing" with the connects, and I loved giving them a chance to discover things about motion and design in hands-on experiences.

What have you tried recently? What types of hands-on activities do you use with your kiddos at this time of the year? Be sure to link up with Holly and share what you have tried recently!


  1. This is great. I love that htey can create and 20 minutes seems like the perfect amount of time to build and test.

    At the end of the year I'm planning on a bridge building activity kind of like this where they are only given supplies and they have to make their own that will hold the weight of a matchbox car (or more)

    Digital: Divide & Conquer

    1. That sounds like a really fun activity. You will have to post about it!

  2. What a fun activity! I know my students would love to be able to do something like this!


  3. Looks like fun. An overnight trip--wow! I have activities over at my blog, but I don't get to do ALL of them. I'm posting with the April A to Z blogging challenge. I found you over at Ideas by Jivey. : )
    Kids Math Teacher

    1. I just started following your blog, but I couldn't post for some reason. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Can't wait to hear about your overnight trip - I'm not sure I could handle it! That activity looks great - I love when you can give the kids hands-on experience, it is so much more meaningful for them!

  5. That's awesome! I definitely have to do that. I now need to buy K'Nex, or find them from my brother's room at my parents' house! Bethany, I'll help you with your giveaway- just email me!

    Everyone deServes to Learn

  6. Overnight trip! Oh my! I can't wait to hear all about it. I have a ton of K'Nex in my classroom for the students to use during indoor recess. Thank you for the perfect way to use them in science class. I am sure your students learned a lot and enjoyed the experience.

    Foreman Teaches

  7. I think we use the exact same kit! I can see a page from the book in one of your pictures:) I love the first investigation and watching them try to make their vehicles!

    Have fun on your overnight camping trip! Do the teachers play any practical jokes? As a student teacher in PA, we did an overnight camping trip and the teachers had a wild yearly tradition:)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

    1. I don't play any practical jokes, just feed them lots of sugar and let them run around and play! :) It's a great trip.