## Toy Car Friction Experiment

Simple physics activities like this toy car friction experiment are a wonderful way to get kids thinking, exploring, problem solving, and observing what is happening around them.

All you need are some simple ramps, textured materials, and toy cars, and you are ready to go.

Extend the activity by applying the scientific method: get the kids to make predictions about which surface will be faster or slower, measure it with a stopwatch and make conclusions.

## Tips For Exploring Ramps (Incline Planes)

Allow the kids to explore the bare ramp as they wish. They are going to be super excited to play that it is often best to let them explore the activity freely for a bit first.

You can also test out angles at this point. Change the position of the ramp and test out which ramp angles are faster or slower.

Which toy cars move faster? Heavier, lighter, longer, or shorter cars move at different speeds. This is a great way to get them thinking about the way things move.

Note: You may want to split this activity into two learning times since exploring the ramps or inclined planes is great fun and is a physics lesson in itself.

When the kids are ready, move on to your textured ramps. Let the kids feel the textures and describe them to you. This is a great time to introduce the term friction if you would like.

## What Is Friction?

Friction is the resistance an object meets when moving over another surface. The materials you attached to the ramps changed the surface of the ramp. The different cars will experience different amounts of friction when going down these ramps causing the cars to speed up or slow down.

## Toy Car Friction Experiment

### Supplies:

• Materials to make ramps. You can use cardboard or wood planks.
• Toy cars
• Variety of textured materials to create friction. Hand towels, sandpaper, rubber grippy mats, tin foil, parchment paper, a piece of rug, or even dirt.
• Tape to secure materials if necessary so they do not slip off the ramps.
• Stopwatch and measuring tape. These are optional but a fun way to extend the activity and encourage making predictions.

### Instructions:

1. Choose the number and type of materials you want to test, and how many ramps you want to have available.
2. Leave one ramp free of materials as a test ramp. Secure your materials to the other ramps as needed.
3. Set up your ramps on an incline from same height. We used stairs, but you can also stack books.
4. Gather your cars and kids.

Ask lots of questions. Before they test out the cars, have the kids guess which texture might slow down the car or speed it up as it goes down the ramp. Make predictions on which cars will go faster or slower.

Let the kids race cars down the different ramps. If appropriate, you can use a measuring tape to see how far the cars travel off the ramp.

Which car goes the farthest? Which car is the slowest? Which car crashes, falls off the ramp, or doesn’t make it to the end?

Experiment found from LittleBinSForLittleHands

## Create a QR Map

Use a regular wall map to display digital photos, perhaps photos of where the children live, their rooms or the like.

The procedure will then be:

1. Get a wall map.
2. Send home an iPad, or similar with the children and let them (or the guardians) take photos of the house they live in, their room, a stuffed animal or the like.
3. Save your pictures to OneDrive.
4. Create a link to each image.
5. Create QR code, for example on QRcodeMonkey.
6. Put a needle where the child lives and pull a thread from there to the QR code.

The result could be something like this:

(The QR code shows where my desktop is located.)

## Supplies

• A sunny outdoor day
• Flashlights if you can’t get outside.

## Options:

You can play fun shadow games by calling out different shapes, letters, or numbers and inviting the kids to do their best to create them in shadow.

Or call out movements like standing on one foot, reaching up high to touch the sky, and walking on all fours. Also, choose kids to lead the activity and come up with ideas!

### 2. Music

We incorporated one of our favorite silly songs into our shadow play, which made the shadow movements extra funny. Sing the song: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes to get your kids moving and examining their shadows.

Take a few pictures of the shadows they made for the kids to look at afterward. Then invite the kids to draw a picture of themselves with their shadows.

Alternatively, grab some sidewalk chalk and pair up if you have the space. Outline your partner’s shadow and then swap places.

If you want to make some observations about shadows and daylight, draw outlines at different times of the day!

The idea is copied from Shadow Activities For Preschoolers – Little Bins for Little Hands

## What does: more, less, equal mean?

MATERIALS

Two identical glasses for each child, a metal teaspoon and preferably several small jugs of water, which the children can pour themselves.

DESCRIPTION

Before starting, briefly explain: ’We are going to learn new words using water in glasses- We are going to learn words like more, less and equal. You are given two glasses each and a small jug of water. First, you will fill your glasses so that there is an equal amount of water in both…” When the children have finished this, we see if some children have the same amount, if some have less, etc. By using teaspoons, we can hear if there is the same amount of water in all the glasses – does it sound the same?

EDUCATIONAL OBSERVATIONS

Can all children understand the game? Does everyone want to join in?

LINGUISTIC OBSERVATIONS

Do the children understand your explanations and instructions?

SPEAKING NEWS

Be aware that not all children aged 5 understand the expressions the first time they are presented to them. Therefore, put a little extra pressure on the target words so that the children hear them, and explain them several times in different ways.

VARIATION

Do the same activity with other words, such as higher, lower and equal.

## Making the Vase

• Cardboard or Card Stock
• Markers (we love Sharpies)
• Markers or Crayons for colouring

Using a black Sharpie draw a vase design. Be sure to include patterns like dots, zig-zags, stars or even flowers. Colour your vase to make it beautiful. Punch holes above the vase where you are going to add your flowers. Using green add stalks and leaves from the flower holes to the top of the vase.

Optional: Using a green marker or crayon to add stalks and leaves under the holes where the flowers will go down to the vase top. We decided not to, because the kids were so excited to go pick their flowers.

TIP: If you don’t have a hole punch or can’t reach the middle of your craft to punch holes, use a pencil to push through and make the holes.

Now it’s time to take your vase and head out into nature. Ensure your kids know not to take flowers from anyone’s gardens without permission!

Public parks often have lots of dandelions, clover and more, plus public trails will have gorgeous wild grown flowers, a little exploring will reveal a gorgeous array of flowers in your area!

You can also talk to your neighbours who might be avid gardeners. They may be willing to part with a few buds in the name of education. Or maybe you have your own flower garden to explore.

Take a look around and see what you can find and where would be the best place to find your flowers in your area.

Once you have found your flowers, have your child select the specific flowers they want to add to their vase. Using scissors carefully cut the flower ensuring that you leave a few inches of the stalk.

Next, have your child carefully place the flowers through the holes. If you wish, you can secure the flowers with a bit of tape if they are falling out.

## Research

I love encouraging my kids to dig a little deeper. So once we were home with our homemade vases we did some research to learn more about the types of flowers we had and to learn a bit about those flowers. We have Dandelions which are very popular with bees, plus some Wild Roses. Then we took some flowers from the garden. A favourite was the Gerber Daisies!

The idea comes from Steampoweredfamily.com

## SUPPLIES:

• 10 Jumbo Popsicle Sticks
• Rubber Bands
• Firing Power (marshmallows, pompoms, pencil top erasers)
• Plastic Spoon (optional
• Bottle Cap
• Sticky Dots

## HOW TO MAKE A CATAPULT WITH POPSICLE STICKS

STEP 1:  Make predictions. Which object will fly the farthest?  Why do you think one will fly farther than the other?

STEP 2:  Hand out supplies to each individual or in small groups, and build a Popsicle stick catapult following the instructions below.

Read more about the science behind the catapult and simple ways to create a catapult science experiment below!

STEP 3:  Test and measure how far each item goes when flung from the catapult.  Record results.

You will want to use a pair of scissors to make two v notches on either side of two jumbo craft or Popsicle sticks (in the same place on both sticks). Use the photo below as a guide for where to make your notches.

Once you have made your notches in two of the sticks, set them aside!

Take the remaining 8 craft sticks and stack them one on top of the other. Wind a rubber band tightly around each end of the stack. Go ahead and push one of the notched sticks through the stack under the top stick of the stack.

At this point flip your partially made popsicle stick catapult over so that the stick you just pushed in is on the bottom of the stack.

Lay the second notched stick on top of the stack and secure the two popsicle sticks together with a rubber band as shown below. The V notches that you cut help to keep the rubber band in place.

Create more leverage with your catapult by pushing the stack of popsicle sticks towards the notched ends connected by the rubber band.

Use sticky dots or another strong adhesive to attach a bottle cap to the popsicle stick. Get ready to fire away!

## TURN IT INTO A SCIENCE EXPERIMENT!

You can easily set up an experiment by testing different weighted items to see which ones fly farther. Adding a measuring tape encourages simple math concepts that my 2nd grader is just really starting to explore.

Or you can build 2-3 different catapults and see which one works better or if one works better with different objects.

Always start out asking a question to come up with a hypothesis. Which item will go farther? I think xyz will go farther. Why? Have fun setting up a catapult to test the theory! Can you design a different catapult using the same materials?

Additionally, you can encourage older kids to record the data from measuring all the launches. Have your kids fire each material {such as a candy pumpkin, plastic spider or eyeball} 10 times and record the distance each time. What kinds of conclusions can they draw from the information gathered? Which item worked the best? Which item didn’t work well at all?

You can also test out the number of popsicle sticks used in the stack to create the tension need to launch the catapult. How about 6 or 10! What are the differences when tested?

## THE SCIENCE OF HOW TO MAKE A CATAPULT!

What is there to explore that has to do with physics? Let’s start with energy including elastic potential energy. You can also learn about projectile motion. Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion: An object at rest stays at rest until a force is applied, and an object will stay in motion until something creates an imbalance in the motion. Every action causes a reaction.

When you pull down the lever arm all that potential energy gets stored up! Release it and that potential energy gradually changes over to kinetic energy. Gravity also does its part as it pulls the object back down to the ground.

You can talk about stored energy or potential elastic energy as you pull back on the Popsicle stick, bending it. When you release the stick all that potential energy is released into energy in motion producing the projectile motion.

## MORE CATAPULT DESIGNS

Idéa take from littlebinsforlittlehands

## Grow in toilet rolls

Beans and peas are perfect to plant in toilet rolls because they want to grow in peace and not in the soil together with others because the roots are disturbed. A small pot in the form of a regular toilet roll is thus a perfect solution.

## 3stepswhentosowinatoiletroll

1. Take a roll and cut three notches, about two cm long, so that it forms three flaps.
2. Press down on the tabs so that they form a bottom.
3. Fill the roll with planting soil, but leave a couple of centimeters at the top. Water a little. Add one or more seeds, fill up with soil and water a little again.

Let the rolls stand and germinate, preferably in a trough.