SPARTA, NJ – The kindergarten students at Alpine Elementary School were so busy with the activities of Forces Day they may not have known they were learning  scientific principles. Principal Joe Leone with kindergarten teachers Stacey Merrill and Danielle Ciesla presented the students’ experience to the board of education members at the last meeting.  Leone explained the idea for Forces Day was developed as teachers came together to prepare to teach the new Next Generation Science Standards or NGSS.

“Forces Day is one of the best days of the whole year,” Leone said.

“They learn about force using no force,” Ciesla said.

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The activities of the day were formed around the phenomenon of Moving Force, Ciesla said. The students moved through 10 outdoor stations to experiment with the way to make non-living things move, discovering the concepts of cause and effect.  They used pushes and pulls to create the movement, gathering evidence to support or refute ideas about causes.  They learned the impact of bigger pushes or pulls.

Each teacher had a different station with a different activity.  Teachers asked questions and got answers from the students at their stations. 

“The teachers also enjoy getting to meet other students as they rotate,” Merrill said.

  • Merrill had flying wiffle balls looking at the relationship of force and distance, hitting a wiffle ball from a traffic cone.
  • Ciesla had Duck Races for students to explore the force of wind getting a little yellow ducky to move in a water table.
  • Amy Dolan’s station had student climb up to the top of the slide and drop a toy parachute to see the concept of air resistance in action.
  • Kaitlyn Bird used Zoom Balls to have the students demonstrate push and pull to move the ball down the rope.
  • Using a slide Laura Ruggiero explored the concept of how gravity effects heavy and light objects.
  • Susan Tessier’s table had the students used magnets to learn about the force of attraction and repulsion.
  • Students got to roll around on scooters to find out about friction at Melissa Kalish’s location.  
  • VIviana Burgess used the big parachute to look at gravity.
  • Abbate used pulleys to move things in a similar way to a clothesline.
  • Students uses popsicle catapults to launch balls, looking at force, weight and distance.

The last event of the day was a surprise to students.  Teachers and students divided into two teams, red and blue, for a tug of war.  The students got very involved in cheering for their team.

 “This is truly a day they are engaged and the force is with us,” Merrill said.