Experiencing scientific concepts

Children skipped in line, waiting to head outside. They knew what was about to happen and couldn’t wait!

The third graders were about to complete a science unit on forces … with a whole-grade tug of war!

They had studied the effects of force on an object's motion. Now, they would experience it.

Everyone took part


A group experiment

While Ann Marie Friscia, one of the third-grade teachers, laid down a very long rope, teacher Connie Merritt asked the students what type of force they would be using.

“Pulling!” said the children.

In no time, Mrs. Friscia’s class distributed themselves along one end of the rope, Mrs. Merritt’s the other. Steven Zoeller, the elementary staff developer for STEAM and sustainability who had been working with the students on the science unit, stood in the center. “Go!”

observing and considering forces

The third graders threw all of their energy into the challenge. For a time, the students were stationary; the forces were balanced. Slowly, the students in Mrs. Merritt’s class pulled the other class over the line!

For the remainder of the class, the children explored the playground observing and considering the forces at work. They saw gravity at play on the swings and zip line. No one’s pants were rough enough to cause friction on the slides, they decided.

"This was the best science class ever,” said one student.

Best class ever!