We’re back with another post for the A to Z of STEM series, hosted over at Little Bins for Little Hands. Several bloggers are sharing STEM activities (Science Technology Engineering & Maths) for all the letters of the alphabet.
We’re on to letter S already and I’m sharing a simple stop watch racing activity that my children love to do. This game is a fun and active way to include technology and maths into your day.
My boys are typical active kids and love to race! It’s a natural fit to include a stop watch into their racing games to help incorporate some maths, and practise using simple technology like a stop watch (or a stop watch app on a phone). This makes it even more fun for them. Keeping track of the numbers and scores while racing can help to motivate them, and feeds into Zs love of numbers.
Z also has a pretty competitive streak, so to prevent the racing from getting too competitive and keep it fun, we include lots of different racing styles from running, to slow racing, hopping and jumping. That way, it’s still fun for younger siblings who may not be the fastest runners.
We like to include races like:
- Backwards Walking
- Slow Walking
- Balancing a bean bag, or egg and spoon
- Forward rolls, or sideways rolls
Different animal walks can be a lot of fun too. These give a good variety of slow and fast ways to move. Ideally you need a big space, like a large basement, or in the summer the garden or the beach is great for this because you will get more variation in the numbers over a bigger distance.
Using the stopwatch app on an iPhone (it’s part of the clock features that comes in built with the phone) you can “start” and “stop” to record the times, or record the times for laps too and then compare the speed of each lap. Does the runner slow down after a few laps, starting to get tired, or did they speed up towards the end?
It’s a pretty simple app, and a good way to introduce children to this practical technology. If you don’t have a phone with a stop watch, then a traditional stop watch will work perfectly too and is still a fun piece of technology to use. You can buy simple stop watches on Amazon like these: UK/US
Once you have your racing times all filled in on your score sheet, there is plenty of opportunity to analyse the numbers and make some observations and calculations.
- Which race was the fastest?
- Which is the slowest?
- How much faster is running than walking?
- How many seconds difference between various types of movement
- How much difference does the racers age seem to make? Are the older children faster than the younger ones?
- What is the average speed for each type of race?
And many other questions. These can be done as mental calculations, or sit and work them out depending what your child prefers. If they want to, then even draw up some graphs to display the results.
Don’t forget to check out our earlier post for A is for Angles Art