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Exploring the science of air in Johnson House

- September 26, 2014

Over the past few weeks the children in Johnson House have been investigating and experimenting with all things air and wind related, and exploring new concepts such as ‘heavy’, ‘light’ and ‘wind energy’.

                                                

This learning project began early one morning when one of the children brought in a football that needed pumping up. The children were very interested in the ball pump, and as more children arrived a crowd gathered, all curious about what was going on and how the pump was inflating the ball.

The educators in Johnson House were excited to foster the children’s natural interest and curiosity. They began to design experiments and learning opportunities to help the children explore the scientific concepts of air, speed, floating, velocity, weight and weather.

    

At first the children experimented with the working of the ball pump, using it to pump air onto their faces and to blow pom poms around. As the children’s interest continue to evolve the educators introduced a number of resources and experiences to challenge children’s thinking and encourage them to hypothesise and test their theories.

Centre director Mariam says “We sourced books about wind and air, both fiction and non-fiction. We created a learning centre with a fan suspended high above the children’s heads. A sky scene was put up and the children drew things that went in the air and sky. We sat down together a few days into the project as a group and completed a table and list of the children’s findings - what can float in the air and what couldn’t? The children were now able to answer this question themselves, not because we told them but because they had drawn their own sound conclusions through their play based experiments”.

                        


Some of the activities that the children have engaged in have included:

Making wind tunnel: using an electric balloon pump and a piece of Perspex rolled into a cylinder shape, the children experimented with how the air could force objects out of the vertical tunnel. They experimented with pom poms, feathers, and ping pong balls, and were excited to see these flying out of the top of the cylinder and the feathers floating in the air.

                                               

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