Reply To: Module 1 – The Curious Minds/ESERO Framework

Barbara Farrell

    Inquiry based learning is an approach to learning that encourages children to engage in problem solving and experimental learning.

    Strand – Energy and Forces

    Strand Unit- Fores

    Lesson – Investigating Slopes

    Resources – Books or blocks of equal height, empty kitchen rolls cut in half to create the slope, marbles, toy cars.

    Background Information –  When a marble or toy car is let go at the top of a slope it is pulled down the slope by the force called gravity. This lesson investigates the distance they travel depending on the angle of the slope. Further exploration can be carried out through changing the surface of the slope and changing the surface onto which they run.

    Introduction – Begin by asking the children to discuss what is a slope? Children may use the word steep or goes up o describe it. Ask the children what do you notice when you walk or cycle up a slope / down a slope? There is a concept cartoon which would allow discussion around this topic by Brendan Keogh and Stuart Naylor ‘Starting points for Science’

    Development – Place a marble at the top of a ramp (kitchen roll cut in half, with one end propped up by a book to create slope)and ask:

    What will happen when you let the marble go? What will happen if you make the ramp higher? i.e add more books. What will happen if we make the ramp really high? How can we slow down the marble after travelling down the ramp?

    Children explore these questions with hands on exploration work. They can use blu tack to make the distance the marble or car travels with each change in slope height.

    Discussion and Conclusion- As the children to share their findings. Did the height of the slope change the distance traveled. Why do you think this happened? Can you think of anywhere slopes re useful? Examples for trolleys in supermarkets or wheelchairs.

    Further Exploration – Possible areas for follow up activities are what surface would best slow down or stop the marble or car for example sand. the children can create longer slopes and examine if the length of the slope makes any difference.



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