Wednesday, October 8, 2008

the way things work

This year I decided to forgo any formal curriculum for science and just follow my kids' interests (with some sort of a plan... not total Clara loves nature so our participation in the nature study challenges are for her. Alex loves all things engineering, so here's what I got for him...
The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay

I knew I had made the right choice when he insisted on taking the book to bed with him the first night we got it. He read it every night at bedtime until he had at least skimmed the entire book.

Today we decided to start working our way through the book, so we got out this kit that I had ordered to go with the book...
K'Nex Education: Wheels, Axles and Inclined Planes

We also own the other K'Nex Simple Machines Sets that we'll be using as we work our way through this book:
K'Nex Education: Levers and Pulleys
K'Nex Education: Gears

We got everything spread out onto the floor this afternoon and got started...
First we read the pages on inclined planes in the book and then the kids got busy building the steep slide and long ramp from the K'nex kit.

One of these would have come in real handy today...
Spring Scale
But... sigh... we don't have one (something to add to my next amazon order though).

After looking at our inclined planes for a while and talking about what we had read... Alex had an idea. He wanted to get out his stop watch and time cars as they sent them down the ramps.

Here's Clara trying a plastic car...
And Alex trying his big yellow taxi...
They experimented for quite a while longer, trying cars of different sizes and weights. They charted them all out on the white board on Clara's easel.

I'm really enjoying watching them getting into our more open ended science that we're doing this year. They've taken some things so much further than they would have if we were following more of a curriculum as we had done in the past.

Alex seriously cannot wait to do more from this book. We have a splitting wedge to build out the K'nex next.

Oh... there's also a set of DVD's based on this book available from the library. A friend of mine has watched one of them and wasn't all that keen on it.... but given that it doesn't cost us anything, I've reserved the inclined planes one at the library to see what we think of it.

No comments: