Saturday, May 28, 2011

Flight: The Gravity of the Situation

One of the aspects of airplanes and flight that Bean has tried to understand here and there is the four forces involved in flight (thrust, drag, gravity, and lift).  The first he clearly had any grasp on was gravity.  One of his videos says, "gravity is the force that pulls everything to the ground."  In the beginning, he was just quoting that and we didn't think he understood it much at all.

After a heavy rain, we have lots of water running through our yard.  After one such rain, Bean and The Beast went for a walk upstream to find out where it was coming from.  Watching the water run down the hill toward our house, Bean asked what made the water go that way.  The Beast asked him what he thought and he said, "I think it's cuz of gravity."  From that, we gathered he understood a bit better than we'd originally thought!!

Anyhow, I was interested in him getting to explore gravity a little further, and a Google search turned up this activity at Preschool Rock.  (How did parents survive before Google and YouTube?  I suppose I would have been making daily trips to the library!)

I went out and bought pipe cleaners specifically for this project, pulled the marble out of his "m" alphabet bag, and we made our own marble track.  Well, I made it.  He hasn't figured out how to use pipe cleaners yet, so he's not making his own.  We'll play with the pipe cleaners and he'll eventually try them out, I'm sure - for now, he doesn't even want to try to shape them.  He'll hardly touch them!  Also, he's still a little young to really make an experiment out of it, but he had a lot of fun and was very focused while rolling the marble down the track over and over and over!

Squeak happily looked on.
Wider shot of the marble track - you can see I made a little corral for it.  We didn't have to chase the marble around the kitchen a whole lot!
I made this to Bean's specifications:  the fuselage has a nose and a fin.  There are winglets and four jet engines.

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