Everywhere you look there are
mechanical objects being used in our everyday lives. A pair of scissors,
a can opener, a key alarm, or a lock are common. We have so many
products now-a-days, that we sometimes forget to ask ourselves,"
How did that work?"
The science of physics with its
explanation of electricity, magnetism, heat, mechanics, and other
phenomena is very helpful in understanding these everyday objects. For
instance, an ordinary lever keeps you safe at night (lock) or a simple
wedge stops your pants from falling (zipper).
Children use everyday appliances and
sometimes donít even think about how it works. We have so many gadgets
in our society, that even if a child asks a parent how something works,
they might not get an answer. Formulating the question, however is a
first step in trying to find the answer.
- For homework instruct students to
find out how something at home uses "physics" to work. Use the
enclosed worksheet to help the student work with a responsible person at
home to derive an answer. This lab will generate many questions about
how things work.
- Have students make a list of items from home.
They should be simple items so the students can learn how they
work. Give students ideas such as: How does a pair of scissors, or
a nut and bolt work? What happens inside the shiny box of a
dishwasher? What happens in an electric light bulb when you flick
on the switch?
- Don't feel you have to know how an
object works, ask people. It is so important for children to understand
that if one person doesn't know the answer, they should keep asking
until they find one who does. If you can't find someone who knows the
answer, the child should start developing a "theory" of their
own as to how the object might work. Someday, somewhere, the child will
find the answer.
- You may want to use a childrenís
search engine on the internet to find out how things work.