Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas
- Gift-wrap or mailing tubes
- Balls that can roll through these tubes, such as:
- Golf balls
- Small foam balls
- Rubber handballs
- Ping Pong balls
- A small grocery box
- Tennis balls
Objective: Children will experiment with cause and effect as they manipulate the heights of cardboard tubes.
In Advance: Give children the opportunity to explore the cardboard tubes. Ask: Where have you seen tubes like this? What were they used for? What things can you think of to do with the tubes? If you put a ball in one end of a tube and lifted the tube, what do you think might happen?
- To warm up, gather your group in a spread-out circle on your rug or in your outdoor play space. Take turns rolling a tennis ball to each child and have them roll it back to you or one of their classmates. Ask children if they have any ideas about why a ball rolls.
- Divide your group into teams of two. Give each team one tube and different kinds of balls. Invite each team of children to elevate one end of their tube on a chair or box to make an incline. Encourage one child to drop the ball at the top of the tube and the other child to catch it at the bottom. Ask children if they have any ideas about why the ball rolls down.
- Now, ask your teams to do some experimenting. Suggest that they place their tube at varied heights. Encourage them to roll their balls through the tubes and see how far they roll. (You might want to mark the spots where the balls stop with masking tape.)
- Invite children to find out which type of ball rolls the greatest distance from their tubes. Make a chart of their findings.
- Later, invite children to try to connect the tubes, creating longer pathways for the balls.
For younger children: Give children practice rolling larger rubber balls to one another before experimenting with rolling smaller-size balls.
For older children: Encourage children to build different foundations for their tubes using cardboard or wood blocks. How many types of designs can they construct?
OBSERVATIONS: Which children seem to enjoy making comparisons and measuring the distance of how far their balls roll? Which children try their own creative ways of using the balls and tubes?
SPIN OFF: Create an outdoor maze constructed of blocks. Invite children to take turns kicking or bouncing different-size balls through the maze.
Investigating Science with Young Children by Rosemary Althous
Science With Young Children by Bess-Gene Holt