Balls and Ramps

 Lets enjoy the experiment.

Teacher Heidi Fessenden helps her first-grade students set up an experiment using marbles and ramps in this video segment from Teaching Elementary Physical Science

Her class explores the variables of the experiment and discusses how to control factors to make the experiment fair. She describes how the goal of the lesson is not to get perfect results, but to have her students go through the process of making observations, testing predictions, and noticing what may make the experiment unfair.

Discussion Questions

You may find it useful to watch this video with a group of your colleagues and then discuss it together.
  • How does Fessenden help her students understand the reasons for making a fair test and controlling variables?
  • How does she help these students identify and target variables to control and change?
  • Fessenden runs through the experimental procedure with her students first. Another approach might be to let these students construct the experiment for themselves. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?