The Wheel Deal
Explore how wheels help move objects and reduce friction.
Big Idea: Wheels move objects
- Wagon or cart, bicycle, scooter or stroller
- Other objects that have wheels, or are shaped like a wheel – such as toy cars, paint containers, spools, cups, crayons, rolls of tape, etc.
- Objects that do not roll – such as blocks that are cubes or cones, books, paper clips, glue bottles, etc.
Open space on the floor or on the ground outside
- Turn the wagon or large object you are using upside down, with its wheels up in the air.
- Ask a child to sit on the wagon.
- Try to pull the wagon.
- Turn the wagon over so that the wheels touch the ground. Pull the wagon. Discuss how the wheel and axle works.
- Introduce the idea of friction.
- Try other objects.
- Compare the objects that roll to the objects that do not roll. (Use an inclined plane if you’d like.)
Q. Why is the wagon difficult to pull? (the wagon is upside down)
Q. How can we make it easier to pull? (turn the wagon over)
Q. Who thinks it will be easier and who thinks it will be more difficult to pull? Why? (the wagon is upright on wheels)
Q. Is there more friction when you turn the wagon upside down, or on its side? Why?
Q. What happens when you try to push a container of paint that is sitting upright? What happens if you turn it on its side? Why does it roll? Is it easier to move it this way?
1.C Use language to convey information and ideas.
9.B Demonstrate an understanding of location and ordinal position, using appropriate vocabulary.
10 Begin to make predictions and collect data information.
11.A Develop beginning skills in the use of science and engineering practices, such as observing, asking questions, solving problems and drawing conclusions.
12.C Explore the physical properties of objects.
12.D Explore the concepts of force and motion.
13 Understand important connections and understandings in science and engineering.
Friction: the rubbing force of one object against another; this causes moving objects to slow down
Wheel and axle: device that allows heavy objects to be moved easily through rotating on an axle through its center