Why Does the Ball Fall?

Stem Twilight Tales 009

Why Does the Ball Fall?  STEM Activities at Twilight Tales

Every week, Twilight Tales family storytime is followed by a craft activity.  Some weeks we learn about history or other cultures through our craft, like with Native-American inspired sand paintings a few weeks ago.  But this week, our attendees were in for a special treat: we had a STEM activity following storytime to learn about Science Technology Engineering and Math.STEM Twi Tales 002

Since this week’s stories were about fall sports and balls, we learned about gravity, force, and motion with dropping experiments and by designing roller coasters for our balls to whoosh down.

Two participants make a roller coasterYou can make your own roller coaster at home with 4 simple ingredients: a piece of foam pipe insulation for a 1 in. pipe (less than 2 dollars from a home improvement or hardware store), a plastic or cardboard cup, tape, and a marble (the large shooter size works great!) or ball bearing. Experiment with the pipe insulation offerings – look for one that is flexible but still has enough stiffness to hold a smooth curve.  Split the pipe insulation in half lengthwise to make a semicircular track.  Tape the cup to the end to prevent your marble from escaping, and get ready to take pictures of your kids laughing and jumping for joy.

Three participants make a roller coasterStem Twilight Tales 012

Students also worked with a dropping experiment station, where they could experience for themselves the discovery that regardless of the size or weight of an object, gravity causes everything to hit the ground at the same time unless air resistance slows the object.

One fun way to show your children the proof that it is air resistance alone which makes the feather fall more slowly than a heavy object is to show them the video of the experiment on the moon which proved that without air to slow them down, a feather and a hammer will fall at the same rate:

Learn more about the dropping experiment performed by NASA astronauts during the Apollo 15 mission to the moon:
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/apollo_15_feather_drop.html

We hope you join us next Tuesday at 6PM in the Bowman Library Children’s room for stories, songs, and activities!

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