Preschool STEAM ~ Building a Water Slide

Preschool STEAM (for children ages 2-6) is all about having fun with science, technology, math and art!  There is no right or wrong way for children to experiment – the fun and learning comes from the doing!  Early childhood research shows us that little hands and minds learn best when at play.

For our August 2019 STEAM adventure, we took advantage of the hot weather to build a water slide that could transport a toy – a dinosaur toy to be exact!


THE CHALLENGE:

Can you build a water slide that can transport a plastic toy dinosaur?

Credit: Preschool STEAM

First we talked about slopes and inclined planes in simple terms.  The books listed below are helpful in explaining these concepts to preschoolers.  They are available for checkout at your local Pasadena Public Library!

We used the following questions to get everyone thinking.

Guiding Questions:

  • Where have you seen slides or ramps before?
  • How can you make your toy slide faster down the slide?
  • What other objects will slide down your water slide

Then we were able to come up with some examples of inclined planes.

Examples of Inclined Planes:
  • Wheelchair ramps. A wheelchair ramp has become a necessary inclined plane in all of society.
  • Slides. A slide is another example of an inclined plane.
  • Stairs. Stairs are inclined planes.
  • A water slide.

Credit:  Preschool STEAM


Then came the fun!  Everyone had to build their very own water slide!


Materials Needed:

  • Pool Noodles (sliced in half)
  • Plastic Toy Figurine (in our case a plastic dinosaur)
  • Plastic kiddie pool
  • Pitcher of Water or large plastic cups 
  • Various Building Blocks
  • Water

  


The Project:

The children were instructed to use the various blocks to create a “slope” for their water slide.  The pool noodle would act as the actual slide and the “engineered” blocks and pool noodle would form the “inclined plane.”

What Is an Inclined Plane? A water slide is a fun example of an inclined plane. The force of gravity pulls you to the bottom! A water slide is a fun example of an inclined plane.

Credit:  PowerKnowledge Physical Science

 


Some kids got the concept and some just enjoyed building and experimenting with the materials provided.  As with all of our Preschool STEAM programs, children learn best through play so the outcome is not as important as the discovery that takes place through exploration.

Join us on October 28 and November 25 for the next Preschool STEAM adventure!  The science will take place either in the patio adjacent to Central Library’s Children’s Room or upstairs in the Studio on 4th.  Hope to see you soon.

 

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