Elementary Science:
Online, Interactive, Standards-Based

Family Bonding with a Science Twist

Start your homeschooling routine back up again with this fun family bonding and science activity! This activity not only helps your child practice his or her communication and collaboration skills, but also illustrates scientific concepts relating to force and motion, including how pushes and pulls change the speed or direction of an object.

 

 

What You Need

  • Plastic cups (6 or more)
  • Rubber bands (large enough to fit around the cups)
  • String

Preparation

  • Cut the string into pieces that measure 2-3 feet long. Create one piece per person.
  • Tie the pieces of string to each rubber band, spaced equally apart, to create a “rubber band tool.”

How It Works

  • Get a group of 3-6 people.
  • Put the 6 cups on a flat surface, and take hold of the rubber band tool, each person grabbing a different piece of string.
  • Explain to your kids that they must move the cups from one surface to another without touching it. They can only use the rubber band tool and their words to help them accomplish this goal.
  • For older kids, you can increase the difficulty level by asking them to stack their six cups into a pyramid! You might also take away their ability to speak, or blindfold them!
  • Connect the activity to science by explaining the concept of tension as it relates to force and motion, and pointing out that each group member must adjust the tension of their string to successfully move the cups!

Reflection

  • Whether you complete the task or not, when you talk about the activity afterwards, you can explain to your child that the outcome does not matter as much as what he or she learned during the activity. Think about asking the questions below to end the lesson. This reflection piece will help your child process and retain the key lessons of the exercise:
    • Were you frustrated by this activity? What did you do when you were frustrated? Did you find good ways of dealing with your frustration or overcoming it?
    • How did your control over the rubber band tool affect the cups? What kept the cup steady? What made it move and change direction? What are some scientific terms we can use to describe what we just observed?
    • Why was teamwork important for this activity?
    • Did any specific roles emerge in your group? Were certain people leaders, others listeners? Do you think it takes a variety of different roles to create an effective team, and that people can take turns playing different roles?
    • What did you learn about yourself during this activity? How did you contribute to your group?
    • How will you apply what you learned during this activity to other experiences

 

online science curriculum