Teaching science when you don't know diddly squat: Do you run faster with or without shoes?DOWNLOAD FILE
October 9, 2018 - Author: Michigan State University Extension
The purpose is not to teach specific content, but to teach the process of science – asking questions and discovering answers. This activity encourages young people to try to figure things out for themselves rather than just read an answer on the internet or in a book. As a leader, try not to express your opinion, but let the youth engage in arguments based on evidence.
20 minutes or multiple days depending on the interest and questions the youth have.
- An area where youth can run barefoot safely (Check the area for sticks and stones.)
- Stopwatch (or cellphone with stopwatch application)
Asking questions and defining problems
Do you think you run faster with or without shoes? How could you test that safely? Ask the youth to predict if they will run faster with or without shoes.
Planning and carrying out investigations
Set up a racetrack and have the youth run the same track both with and without shoes to see which is faster.
Using mathematics and computational thinking
Set up a chart to record the person's name, the time it took with shoes, the time it took without shoes and other notes.
Engaging in argument from evidence
Did people run faster with or without shoes? Why do you think that was? Did shoes allow them to grip better? Do you think it would make a difference whether it was a smooth surface, a running track, grass or dirt? Did shoes make a difference in whether people tripped or fell? Do you think it matters whether you are running long or short distances?
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Based on what you observed, is there anything you could use when making shoes? Do you have any new ideas for making shoes? What type of materials would you use? What style would you choose? What type of tread design would you use?
- Do you think certain shoes would allow you to run faster? Would some types of shoes slow you down?
- Does what you learned in this experiment make arguments for or against toe shoes (shoes with individual toe pockets) or other types
of minimalist shoes?
Science and Engineering Practices
- Asking questions and defining problems
- Developing and using models
- Planning and carrying out investigations
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Using mathematics and computational thinking
- Constructing explanations and designing solutions
- Engaging in argument from evidence
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
National Research Council. (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.