STEAM INTEGRATION: Exploring Ramps

Prologue

This is an introductory and exploratory play-based lesson on ramps for preschoolers. It is also a review of prewriting shapes; circle, vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines.


Lesson Instructions

Lesson Objectives:

  1. Student will be able to describe a horizontal, vertical and diagonal line.
  2. Students will work cooperatively to build a structure that allows “the pumpkin to roll down the hill.”
  3. Students will be able to make predictions about what will happen as the angle of the ramp changes.  Will the pumpkin move faster or slower?  Roll, slide or not move?
  4. Students will use language to describe their observations.
  5. Students will be able to use prewriting shapes to draw a picture that reflects what happened.

Whole group:  5 Minutes

  1.  Class discussion about the lines we’ve learned so far (horizontal, vertical and diagonal).  Refer to the Lines Anchor Chart with visuals to help students remember.  Have students describe the lines they see (“laying down flat, standing up and slide”).  *Formative Assessment.
  2. Access prior knowledge:  Refer to the book, The Runaway Pumpkin, read earlier during literacy circle.  Ask students, “Do you think the hill in the story was most like a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line?  Why?”
  3. Hook:  Show students the wooden blocks of various sizes and the pumpkins.  Tell students they will use the materials to build a hill for the pumpkin to roll down!

Small group:  30 Minutes

  1. Divide students into two small groups w/ an adult facilitating the play in each group.
  2. Allow time for students to explore the materials and begin playing.  During this time the teacher needs to observe students to help determine and target specific guiding questions to follow.  Praise students for working cooperatively or using teamwork strategies we have been learning about.
  3. Have students make predictions about what will happen to the pumpkin as they make changes to or improve their structure.  Allow time for students to work together to experiment with changing their ramp.
  4. Essential Guiding Questions:  “Did the pumpkin slide or roll?  Did the pumpkin roll fast or slow?  How could we change/improve the hill to make the pumpkin roll faster or slower?  How many blocks held up the “hill/ramp?”  What would happen if we added blocks/ used less blocks?”

Whole group:  10 Minutes

  1. Give each student a blank piece of paper.
  2. Tell students they are going to draw the hill.  “What kind of line should we draw for the hill?”  Review the Lines Anchor Chart again and have students describe the diagonal line.  Model drawing a diagonal line on the Smartboard.  Have students draw the diagonal line in the air.  Have students draw a diagonal line on their papers.  (If students struggle, turn their paper over and have them connect the sticker on the top left of the paper to the sticker on the bottom right of the paper.  Stickers should be placed on the back of the paper prior to the lesson to ensure their isn’t downtime).
  3. Tell students they are now going to draw the pumpkin.  “What shape does a pumpkin look like?”  Model drawing a circle on the Smartboard.  “What shape?”  Have students draw a circle in the air.  Have students draw the pumpkin rolling down the “hill.”
  4. Point to the stem of the pumpkin.  “Who remembers what this part of the pumpkin is called?”  Ask students, “what line could we use to draw the stem of the pumpkin?”  Refer back to the Lines Anchor Chart.  Model drawing the vertical line on the Smartboard.  Have students draw the vertical line in the air.  Have students draw the line to create the stem on their papers.
  5. Students’ drawings will be used as a summative assessment tool to see if students are able to produce the prewriting shapes targeted in their drawings (diagonal line, vertical line and circle).
  6. When students have produced the three required prewriting shapes they should be encouraged to add details to and color their drawings.
  7. As students add details to their drawings the teacher and assistant should move around the room asking students to tell them about their drawings.  Dictate what students say on their papers.

Materials

  • Lines Anchor Chart
  • The Runaway Pumpkin Book
  • Wooden blocks (enough for two groups) of various sizes for students to explore and build with
  • Pie pumpkins
  • Paper (stickers preplaced in upper lefthand corner & bottom righthand corner on back of paper to be used as a modification if needed).
  • Crayons
  • Smartboard, whitboard or chalkboard for demonstration

Downloads

Lesson Duration

45 minutes

Placement

After prewriting shapes (vertical, horizontal, diagonal and circle) have been introduced if incorporating the writing component in with this lesson.  This lesson was completed in October during my “Fall into Fun” thematic unit.

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Other/Alternative Standard(s)

  • New Mexico Essential Indicator #28: The child uses a process of inquiry to investigate the physical and natural worlds and to hypothesize and make predictions while working cooperatively with other children and adults.
  • New Mexico Essential Indicator #21.2: Guidance and support, Accepts guidance from classroom and school personnel and seeks support when needed.
  • New Mexico Essintial Indicator #14.1: Investigations, uses senses to investigate characteristics and behaviors in the physical and natural worlds and begins to form explanations of observations and explorations.

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