Literary Sparks: Science, Grade Kindergarten


LAFS.K.RI.2.4 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.

LAFS.K.RI.3.9 With prompting and support, identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic.

LAFS.K.RI.4.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.

LAFS.K.SL.1.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and in small and larger groups.

  1. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions
  2. Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges.


SC.K.P.12.1: Investigate that things move in different ways, such as fast, slow, etc.

Big Idea: Motion of Objects

A. Motion is a key characteristic of all matter that can be observed, described, and measured.

B. The motion of objects can be changed by forces.


Sheep in a Jeep

By Nancy E. Shaw

Call Number: Y PICTURE SHAW, N.

Book cover for Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E. Shaw

A flock of hapless sheep drive through the country in this rhyming picture book. "The bright-colored pencil drawings and lean text make this a great choice for preschool story times, as well as for beginning readers who want a funny story." -- School Library Journal

#Literary Sparks

As you are reading the book aloud to students, pause to ask the following questions:

  1. What do the sheep do to get the jeep to go (pp. 14-15)? PUSH or PULL
  2. What direction (UP or DOWN) does the jeep go after it starts moving (pp. 16-17)?
  3. What do the sheep do to try to get the jeep out of the mud (pp. 18-19)? PUSH or PULL
  4. What do the pigs do to get the jeep out of the mud (pp. 24-25)? PUSH or PULL
  5. What happens to the jeep after the pigs help?


Motion: Push and Pull, Fast and Slow

By Darlene R. Stille

Call Number: Y 531.11 STILLE

Book cover for Motion: Push and Pull, Fast and Slow

Explore the concepts of motion by learning about movement, speed, force, and inertia. This nonfiction picture book engages young readers in science and STEM.

#Informational Sparks

  1. Read p. 5: what is the description of motion?
  2. Read pp. 6-7: How were the Sheep in a Jeep moving?
  3. Read pp. 8-9: Was the Jeep moving fast or slow?
  4. Read pp. 10-11: What was providing the force for the Jeep to move?

#Investigative Inquiry

I Can Make Things Move and Movement Vocabulary

I Can Tell How Force Affects My Object

Learning Outcomes Statement:

These activities will help students learn in a hands-on manner that things move in different ways, and that forms of motion can be controlled. They will be able to observe, describe and measure the different types of motion, as well as understand the vocabulary words associated with different kinds of motion.

Materials Needed:

Activity 1: Ask students ahead of time to bring an object from home that they can make move. Have a box/bin of items in the class in case students forget.

Activity 2: Assemble a bin of different kinds of balls, but have plenty of smaller balls (10-12) for students to use in teams of two (such as tennis balls or baseballs). Suggestions for other balls include ping pong balls, bocce/croquet ball, basketball, volleyball, football, beach ball, etc.

Additional Library Resources/Materials to Share:

Y 500.2 MASON Motion, Magnets and More by Adrienne Mason

Y 531.11 MASON Move It! Motion, Forces, and You by Adrienne Mason

Y 531.112 BARRACLOUGH Fast and Slow by Sue Barraclough

Y BOARD CARLE My Very First Book of Motion by Eric Carle (great for motion vocabulary)

372.35044 SKILL Skill Sharpeners, Science, Grade K by Guadalupe Lopez

372.6044 ROCKWELL Linking Language: Simple Language and Literacy Activities Throughout the Curriculum, By Robert Rockwell

507.8 CITRO The Curious Kid’s Science Book: 100+ Creative Hands-On Activities for Ages 4-8, By Asia Citro

Notes for Introduction

For our first experiment, everyone was asked to bring an item from home for today’s experiment. Don’t worry, if you didn’t bring something, you can choose from this box of items in our classroom. We are going to experiment with how to move our items. When it is your turn, show how to move the item two different ways. Tell the teacher/leader the words you choose and s/he will write them on our Motion Vocabulary Board (words like push, pull, fast, slow, drop, jump, bounce, etc.)

For our second experiment, you will work together in pairs or small groups to make balls of different shapes and sizes move, and we will work on  controlling that movement by making the ball move faster, slower, change the distances it travels, making it roll smoothly or bouncy, etc. Please be good listeners, as you will need to pay attention to make sure you understand what we’re doing.

Activity 1- I Can Make Things Move and Movement Vocabulary:

Each student will take their item from home (or from the classroom shared box of objects) and practice/demonstrate making their item move. Students will describe the way they make their item move and give the teacher movement words (I pushed it, I pulled it, I rolled it, etc.). The teacher will write the movement words on the board or on a poster for everyone to see all the different words associated with motion and movement.

Some prompts to assist students with this activity:

  • How does your object move?
  • Do you have a question about why one of your classmates brought what they did?
  • Can you make it move in a different way or more than one way?
  • What makes it move?
  • How did you make it move?

Activity 2- I Can Tell How Force Affects My Object:

Teacher will put together a bin of different sizes & types of balls (beach ball, volleyball, basketball, tennis balls, ping pong balls, baseball, bocce/croquet ball, football, etc.).

Have students pair up and sit on the floor facing their teammate. Let them choose a smaller ball to begin (tennis ball or baseball). Ask them not to touch the ball yet, and use some or all of the following questions to guide an active discussion about motion and the ball:

  • Where is the ball?
  • Is it moving?
  • Why isn’t it moving?
  • What has to happen for the ball to move?
  • Can you get the ball to go (here)?
  • How can we make the ball move fast/slow? (can go to a hallway for distances)

Ask students to roll the ball back and forth between them. Encourage them to talk about how the ball moves. Listen for words that describe the ball’s motion (fast, slow, straight, bouncy, etc.) and refer to the Motion Vocabulary Board from Activity 1. Help students begin to notice a pattern in how the ball moves (the ball rolls in a straight line. More force--a harder push--makes the ball roll faster and farther). Example: have students roll the ball to targets at varying distances (short, medium, long).

An extension of this experiment is to use balls of varying size, weight, and shape to see how forces affect  their motion.

Questions for Feedback and Reflection:

  1. What did we learn about making objects move today?

That objects will not go anywhere without some force moving them. We can be that force.

  1. What can we do to make an object move faster?

Use more force (push hard)

  1. What can we do to make an object move slower?

Use less force (push gently)

  1. If an object is heavy (like a bowling ball or croquet ball) and we want to make it move, do we have to push it hard or gently? Hard
  2. If an object is light (like a beach ball, ping pong ball, or balloon) and we want to make it move, does it take a lot of force (effort) to move it? No

For a complete, printer friendly version of this Literary Spark please click here.

#Science Sparks Content

Kids Info Bits

National Geographic Kids

Science in Context

General Science Collection

National Geographic Virtual Library

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