ALL ABOARD: WE’RE GATHERING STEAM
In this STEAM (engineering) activity for preschool-aged kids, help them sort and stack a variety of objects to explore the properties of materials to see how they ‘stack up’ against each other!
- Small plastic cups
- Craft sticks
- Pom poms
- Empty thread spools
- Plastic lids
- Any other materials you want to try stacking
- Ask: Will all the materials stack easily?
- Make a hypothesis: Which objects do you think will stack easily? What is it about an object you chose that will make it perfect for stacking?
- Experiment: Begin stacking objects.
- Observation: Does it help to have one larger object or several objects as a base at the bottom of the stack? Is it easier to stack items that are the same than it is to stack a mix of different objects?
- Engage your young scientist(s) in conversation about why some stacks topple and others don’t. Try to think of some everyday occurrences of stacking and what you could do to make the process better. This will help apply scientific principles to the world around you.
There are properties that contribute to the success of objects being stacked one on top of the other. These include the size and weight of the objects, friction, center of gravity, and how level the surfaces of the objects are.
How much you explain to kids will depend on ages, interests and skill levels. Introducing activities promotes wonder and observation as kids explore their environment hands-on!