Let’s Learn About: The Science of Sledding

cover picThroughout my high school career, I wasn’t what one would call a Science Whiz. Most of 9th grade Earth Science was spent passing notes with my lab partner. My favorite project in 10th grade Biology was when I sculpted model lungs . . . out of cake! And 11th grade Chemistry? The only thing I remember from that class is a cute boy.

However, 12th grade Physics was amazing! I was fortunate to have had a very gifted teacher who, if he had wanted to, could have made trimming toenails seem like the most exciting thing on the planet. I learned stuff that year. A lot of stuff that I never even knew I was interested in learning about, and declared physics my favorite class (even over Art and English, which is saying a lot!). Mr. W., this post is dedicated to you!

1 5 362Newton’s First Law of Motion: The Law of Inertia states that an object at rest, will stay at rest, until acted upon by an outside force.

Ask your child: What do you think will happen if no one pushes your sled?

Show your child: Refrain from pushing their sled for a moment. Demonstrate that unless an outside force (you) pushes it, it won’t go anywhere. Next, push their sled and watch them fly!

1 8 078-001Likewise, The Law of Inertia also states that an object in motion will stay in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force that causes a change in velocity.

Ask your child: Can you think of some reasons why your sled would stop moving?

Tell your child: Crashing into a tree will stop your sled. Thick, rough snow “off your path” adds friction and will cause your sled to slow down or stop. And yes, colliding with your brother will also cause you to stop moving!

1 5 442Friction: Friction is defined as resistance to movement between two objects that are in contact with each other. There is typically less friction between smooth surfaces.

Ask your child: Do you think your sled would go faster on the ice, or the snow? Why?

Show your child: Let them test their theory (under supervision).

1 8 110Gravity: Gravity is the attraction between two objects that occupy space and have mass.

Tell your child: Gravity is the force that pulls us down and keeps our feet on the ground. Gravity pulls you down the sled hill!

Show your child: Toss a snowball up into the air. What happens? You’ll see gravity (and Newton’s Third Law of Motion) in action!

1 5 394Teaching children science doesn’t have to be boring and straight from a text-book. Mr. W. made physics fun because he showed his students how it was applied in simple, every day activities – like sledding. I can’t wait to teach Colin and Owen more about everyday science and then maybe, just maybe, I will be brave enough to dive into math (my worst subject, ever!).

Literature Link-Up

Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities by Kerrie Logan Hollihan

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14 thoughts on “Let’s Learn About: The Science of Sledding

  1. Melissa – you are amazing and inspiring!! I really really enjoy reading your posts!! My poor physics teacher was also amazing (I think it must be a requirement or something) but alas the cute boy coupled with the fact that it was the last class of my day (Senior year nonetheless) won out and physics never really sparked my attention. This post did though!! Looks like you all had fun!

  2. What amazing photos you’ve captured of this terrific hands on science fun! I’m so jealous sitting here in the backyard watching the kids play in the green grass with flowers starting to bloom for spring. Thank you so much for sharing on our After School Link Up. Can’t wait to see what you share this week! Secretly hoping it’s something frozen 🙂

  3. Pingback: Around the Web: Outdoor Learning in Winter

  4. Pingback: Leprechaun Milk | Fireflies and Mud Pies

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