Pendulum Painting: Using gravity to paint.
Teach your child the forces of motion and gravity by a fun way to play with a pendulum by incorporating paint. This is a great way to combine art and science for a STEAM learning activity.
STEM/STEAM: It’s learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math and integrating them to encouraging them to think in a more connected and holistic way. It’s very important to teach because these five disciplines are used in everyday activities. They promote problem-solving, and creative and analytical thinking. Many of the jobs that affect our economy include STEAM subjects. Accounting, architecture, medical research, and environmental studies all involve science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations have grown in the last ten years three times faster than non-STEM occupations and STEAM occupations are expected to grow by 10% from now until 2020. Non-STEAM occupations only grow at a national average of 5-8%. The most important thing to remember about teaching STEM to early learners is that they are perfectly adapted to learn STEM concepts, and it is not difficult to teach STEM to young children. The secret is to tap into their natural and innate curiosity about the living world. By simply allowing them to investigate, by encouraging them to ask questions about the real world, you are engaging children in STEM.
New words to learn, discuss and explore with your child during this activity:
There’s no need to completely dial down the science vocabulary for kids who are learning about science terms. Instead of swapping real science words for childish lingo, consider the context of the vocabulary you use and how you present it to the child. For example, as the student moves a ball, tell her that she is setting the object in “motion” or tell her that the push she gives it is the “force.”
Gravity: A force that makes things fall down.
Pendulum: Something hung from a point, so it can freely swing back and forth, due to the force of gravity. A great example of this is a swing.
Motion: The action or process of moving or being moved. Here are some examples to explore:
- Velocity: The speed of something in a given direction.
- Momentum: The strength of a moving object. … A way to think about momentum is to consider how difficult it would be to stop an object in motion. An object that is bigger or going faster can be said to have momentum equal to mass x speed (velocity). As time goes, the bottle will lose momentum.
- Stop and Start: An object won’t move by itself and that, once in motion, it won’t stop unless some force acts upon it. Gently push the bottle of the pendulum, setting it in motion. Next, have them put her hand up and stop the bottle swinging. This shows the child that the force of their hand will stop the motion of the bottle.
- Fast and Far: When you push an object with more force it will move faster and farther away. Have the child lightly push the bottle first and then with more force later on. Measure how far the bottle travels in each instance by how far the paint reaches on the paper. Compare the distances, pointing out the harder swing pushed the bottle farther than the lighter one.
Questions to ask your child:
- What happens if you swing the pendulum with more force or more gently?
- What happens if you make the string shorter?
- What pattern is the pendulum making with the paint?
- What does the painting look like or remind you of?
Watch the video here:
How to set this up:
- Cut the bottom off a drink bottle and make two small holes on each side near the bottom with a hole puncher or a Stanley knife. The string will loop through this later.
- Hammer, a nail in the lid to make a small hole (for a slow pour) or use a pop top lid (for a quicker flow).
- Place a broom on something with equal heights, like a chair or garbage bins.
- Tie string to each hole in the bottle and loop over the broom handle, so it’s hanging (evenly).
- Fill the water bottle with paint and swing it to start creating works of art. (The paint we used was Crayola washable kids paint.)
Other ways to make this easier:
*I didn’t have enough paint to waste, so I watered the paint down with water. In doing so, it dramatically increased the speed it came out. Therefore, I had a few cups and a jug on standby to refill the bottle.
*A more simple way to make this is to simply cut a hole in the bottom of a paper cup.
*If you don’t want to use paint, I think this would work wonderfully on a sunny day and paint the ground wet with water.
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