You may not have given it much thought, but rolling is one of the first ways that kids are exposed to physics. They roll balls, cars, trains, and of course their little bodies.
Physics is the science of matter, energy, motion, and force, and rolling is a special kind of motion. What makes rolling special is the combination of one object rotating while moving across a surface – without sliding.
What this means is that the entire surface of the rolling object could come in contact with the surface it’s rolling across.
To see rolling in action, we paired physics and art in a roll-painting activity.
For this activity, you’ll need:
Toilet paper tubes
Cardstock or cardboard (from cereal or tissue boxes)
A hole puncher
1 dowel rod per toilet paper tube
And of course, paper and paint!
(We also added Hot Wheels at the end to add a little more fun)
You’ll begin this activity by making a roller. To create your roller, first trace two circles using your toilet paper tube as a guide. You can add little tabs to fold down over your tube to make it fit more securely if you like.
Next cut out your circles and punch a hole in the middle of each. If you’re using a dowel rod, a regular hole puncher will work perfectly.
Tape your circles down to the ends of your toilet paper tube, and slide your dowel rod through the holes.
Now you have a hand-made paint-roller!
All that’s left is loading it up with paint and watching it roll. The kids liked this design because they could roll it with both hands, giving them a lot of control.
After using our rollers, we pulled out the Hot Wheels and rolled them through the paint. We inspected the tracks to tell which direction the wheels rolled in and what colors we rolled through.
When you’re done painting, save your roller for the elevator activity coming up next week.
This activity might be over, but the innovation is just beginning. Keep the imagination and innovation going at home with the free digital picture book How to Build a Robot From A to Z.