A small (rolling!) build car

The teacher asks the children to look for what parts a car is made of and to name these parts. To the question "How to build a car?" answer the children:

  • With 4 wheels,
  • With a rod that holds the front wheels together,
  • with a rod that holds the rear wheels together,
  • a place to sit down ,
  • and with a motor.

Comment of the teacher

Since the children cannot build a motor in the kindergarten, the educator asks the children to think of a device that could turn the wheels. The children then suggest, for example, to simply push the car. In this way, they make a connection with the toy cars in their group room.

First attempts

The teacher shows the children two wooden skewers, 4 corks, straws and an empty kitchen roll and asks the children if they could make a car with these materials.

Fig. 1: Material and tools at hand

The educator works with a group of four. The group manages to make a small car and presents their work to the other children. When they try out their construction, however, they discover a first problem: the car does not roll.

The children should try to explain why they think the car does not roll. "We poked the skewers through the kitchen roll and attached corks as wheels to the end of the skewers. But the car does not roll." "We tried with straws, but they are too soft, they break. They are only there to decorate."

The teacher asks the children what could be done to make the car roll.

This is followed by attempts and discussions, which unfortunately do not lead to the hoped-for success. Finally, the teacher suggests putting a straw through the kitchen roll and a skewer through the straw. This way the skewer will no longer be "braked" and the car can roll.

Now each group knows the solution and each child has to build his or her own car. Of course, they can also use other materials.

And off we go!

For example, the following material is available to the child:

Fig. 2: Material and tools. The nail drill and rose scissors are only used together with the teacher.

If holes need to be made, the children ask the teacher (who has a nail or drill, a pair of nippers or rose scissors, and a pair of scissors) to make the holes in the place they want. After many trials and many errors, the children realize that four holes must be drilled, two on each side; these holes must be drilled with the bottle "down" and lie opposite each other in pairs. In addition, holes must be drilled in the center of each cover. Then the straw must be inserted into one of the holes of the bottle and come out of the opposite hole. "It is difficult because the holes drilled by the educator are too small, she has to make them bigger." After that, the skewer has to be passed through the straw (it has to stick out at both ends) and the lids have to be attached to the ends of the skewer. The whole thing is repeated for the other two wheels.

Comment of the teacher

The two straws must be shortened so that the skewers stick out on both sides. In order for the wheels to hold better, they can be additionally fixed with plasticine, Patafix or glue.

Each child tests his or her car under the eyes of the group. If something does not work or works badly, advice is given on how to improve the car.

Comment of the teacher

In a car none of the wheels had contact with the ground. During the joint inspection, the children noticed that the lids used were not the same size.

When the car works reasonably well, the children can decorate it.

The difficulties

It is not easy to get the straw into the hole and out through the opposite hole.

Comments from the children

  • "It is difficult to poke the straw through the holes."
  • "The holes must be made on the bottom of the bottle."
  • "I prefer to take the bottle, because then I can see where I have to pass my straw."
  • The educator: "Why can you see your straw??" The child: "Because the bottle is transparent."

The lids (material and shape)

  • "Corks are sometimes too small, it works better with wide lids of drinking yoghurt bottles, for example."
  • The educator: "What are they made of??" The child: "Made of plastic."
  • "The wheels we made with the lids of Camembert boxes are good, but only a large middle part fits them."

Comment by the educator

Through the difficulties the children encounter, the educator can introduce precise vocabulary, such as the name of the material.

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