You can never have too many boredom busters, especially when they are full of learning!
I set up this simple STEM challenge for my kids as a way to have fun and unwind after school and could not believe how much fun it turned out to be.
Get your kids thinking critically and developing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills with just some simple items from around the house!
While designing and testing their own designs kids are working on the STEM concepts of design, shape, and structure in a fun and hands-on way.
It’s an open-ended process that allows kids to test different designs and types of materials (in this case balls) and see how gravity effects each.
How to Make a Pom Pom Drop
We got the chance to problem solve and learn about design and gravity and their effect on different types of balls.
- Paper towel rolls
- Toilet paper rolls
- Washi tape
- Pom poms
- Other types of small balls such as marbles or bouncy balls
Begin the gravity lesson by asking them to tape the paper towel rolls to the wall or window in such a
way that a pom pom can roll through them.
They’ll have to cut the rolls in half or cut openings in the tubes so the ball can travel through.
There is no “right” way to do this at first. As kids test out their design encourage them to continue to adjust and add to it to create a fun pom pom drop.
Next ask them why the pom pom always ends up on the ground. Discuss the concept of gravity together
and then put it to the test.
Have kids test out different types of balls in their ball drop to see how different sizes, weights, and densities of materials change the effect gravity has. They will discover that heavier denser objects fall faster.
Learn about STEM with a Pom Pom Drop
Extend the learning:
- Give kids simple challenges and a timer to get them to use those critical thinking skills and modify their designs!
- Build a pom pom drop that can keep a ball going for more than 10 seconds.
- Move the ball 4 feet to the left or right from where it begins.
- Test two different types of balls and see how you can get them to drop in the same number of seconds.
- Use scissors and tape to create shapes other than a cylinder for the balls to roll through.
Designing and engineering their own pom pom drop lets kids really dive into the concept of gravity in a
hands-on way. As they test and rebuild their structures they are developing the problem solving skills they need to do well in school and in life.
Don’t let the fun stop there!
We have TONS of science experiments your kids will love on our Super Cool Science Experiments for Kids page!
Take me to the experiments –> Super Cool Science Experiments for Kids