Museum of Science, Boston

Hoop Glider Engineering at Different Ages

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Hoop Glider Engineering: Early-Elementary Schoolers

Hoop Glider Engineering can be a fun science activity for people of all ages. We provide these generalizations as guidelines about what children at different ages might do during Hoop Glider explorations at the Discovery Center’s Experiment Station, at home in your living room, or at school. Listed below are science and technology process skills that children may be practicing during their explorations. Please remember: each child develops at a different rate, so some children in each age group may be able to do some of the things described in the age group before or after their own.

How might early elementary schoolers explore Hoop Glider Engineering?

Act Cooperatively - Early Elementary Schoolers

Early elementary school children might compare their results to their peers, or challenge peers to a race.

Some children this age might want to work together to create a particularly challenging hoop glider design.

Hypothesize - Early Elementary Schoolers

Early elementary aged children can make guesses to explain why two hoop gliders fly differently, depending on their design.

Children this age can try to guess how changes to their hoop glider will affect how it flies.

Early elementary aged children can also make guesses about which of two hoop gliders will fly the farthest, and test their predictions in a ‘race’.

Observe - Early Elementary Schoolers

Early-elementary aged visitors can see connections between the design of the hoop glider they build and the results they get when they test it.

Plan and Design - Early Elementary Schoolers

Early-elementary aged children can create their own glider designs- they are not limited to re-creating the design of a “prototype glider” that someone else creates.

Children at this age can try testing different wing shapes, straw lengths, and other variables (one at a time).

Early elementary school children are developing an understanding of the importance of controlling variables in experiments- with help from a grownup, they can design experiments of their own in order to discover what features allow a hoop glider to fly the farthest or the fastest.

Use Tools - Early Elementary Schoolers

Most early-elementary aged visitors are adept at using scissors, and have developed the fine motor skills necessary to use paper-clips with ease.

Children at this age also have an understanding of measurement, and can use a test track to compare the distances that different hoop gliders achieve (even if the hoop gliders are tested at different times).