Montessori Students Explore Forces with PEARLS Program

Service learning student Aaron Zimmerman and Physics Outreach organized a series of table-top investigations for a science extravaganza at the Follow the Child Montessori School in Lafayette. The theme of the investigations was naturally occurring forces. Students experimented, for example, with varying both the mass and length associated with pendulums (below left), buoyancy, and the effects of changing arm length and mass of a balance beam (below right).

children learn about force with pendulum children learn about force with balance beam

Parents of children who attend the school were recruited to conduct the various investigations with students. Zimmerman, with Society of Physics Student member Zachary Babyak and David Sederberg, Director of Physics Outreach, instructed parents in the principles involved with each of the guided-inquiry investigations.

parent helps teach about buoyancy

Here, one of the parent volunteers is guiding children in an investigation into the buoyancy of various common objects.

Follow the Child group in classroom
At the culmination of the day’s activities, Zimmerman provided the children opportunities to express and share what they had learned in each of the investigations with other members of the class.

These concept-focused, hands-on investigations are components of the PEARLS program. PEARLS (Physics Education Activities and Resources for Learning) activities allow children to investigate phenomena and related concepts at their own pace in an informal learning environment. 

See event photos.

Last Updated: May 5, 2016 5:16 PM