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Bouncing Balls

About this video

The children in this clip attend a mixed-age early childhood center sponsored by a public university. In the early fall, their teacher, Lisa Lee, planned activities to interest them in a possible project on balls. During circle time, the children played a guessing game about balls (see What’s in the Box?), and then Lisa introduced an activity that was to take place at choice time—experimenting to see how high the balls might bounce. Once they were outside, the children selected various balls and tested how high each ball would rebound once thrown. Notice how Lisa challenges the children to hypothesize about how high their balls might bounce, and before they test each ball.



Lisa Lee: Today at project time I’m going to be outside, and I’ll take the outside symbol and turn it over, and I have five friends to come out with me. And I’ve got all kinds of balls, and we’re going to….

After Lisa Lee speaks briefly to the class inside, the action moves outdoors.

Lisa Lee: (Pointing to a ball.) How about this one with the holes?

Treyshaun: Baseball.

Lisa Lee: Baseball. It’s called a whiffle ball, really.

Claire: Basketball.

Lisa Lee: Basketball. Well, we’re going to see how far they bounce.

Treyshaun: What is this?

Lisa Lee: That one’s a volleyball. You play that one where the net is up and you get it over the top of the net.

Maddie: (Picking up the volleyball.) I want to see the volleyball.

Lisa Lee: You want to try the volleyball first?

Claire: (Reaching for the basketball.) I want to try the basketball.

Treyshaun: (Picking up a soccer ball.) I want to try this one.

Caleb: (Reaching for a ball.) I want to try this one.

Lisa Lee: Okay, you each pick one. Okay, why don’t you guys all sit up there, except for Maddie, and we’ll try Maddie’s first. (Pointing to the tunnel.) You can sit right here on the tunnel. Maddie, you come over here (pointing toward wall). Now, let me get a marker, and I’ll mark it on the wall for you. Okay, you bounce it as high as you can, and I’ll see where it goes.

Maddie bounces a ball.

Lisa Lee: You guys think it was about here (pointing to a place on the wall) where it was at the top of its bounce?

Group: Yes.

Lisa Lee: Okay, and we’ll put volleyball right there (writes on wall with chalk), because that’s what you guys said it was.

Treyshaun: Why, why are you drawing that on the wall?

Lisa Lee: Well, we’re going to see which one’s going to be the highest.

Treyshaun: Me.

Lisa Lee: You think the basketball’s going to be the highest ball, bouncing? All right. You try it out.

Treyshaun comes to the wall.

Lisa Lee: Okay, give it a big bounce. (Treyshaun bounces the ball.) Whoa! That was way up here on the window (marking with chalk).

Travis, come on–let’s try the rubber ball. You’ve got the medium-sized rubber ball. Do you think it’s going to go higher or lower than that sized rubber ball (pointing at another ball).

Travis: (Holding the ball above his head.) High.

Lisa Lee: High. Okay, let’s see.

Travis bounces the ball.

Whew! Do you think it was ‘bout up to here again? I’m going to have to get something to stand on, you guys are bouncing them so high. Claire, you haven’t bounced your ball, yet. Do you think it’s going to go higher than the highest one we have?

Claire bounces a ball.

Lisa Lee: (Marking wall with chalk.) Right about there is where it is. So that’s the biggest rubber ball, so we’ll put “big rubber ball.” All right.

Do you think it’s going to go higher than the one we have or lower? Treyshaun, do you think it’s going to go higher than the one we have or lower?

Treyshaun: Lower.

Lisa Lee: (Pointing to Travis.) What about you?

Travis: Lower.

Lisa Lee: (Pointing to Maddie.) What about you, Maddie?

Maddie: Big.

Lisa Lee: Higher. You think it’s going to go higher. Caleb, what do you think? Do you think the ball’s going to go higher than the volleyball, or lower than these balls here?

Caleb: Up.

Lisa Lee: Up higher? Okay (handing volleyball to Claire). Okay, push it really hard down.

Claire bounces the ball.

Whoa, it bounced about up to here (pointing). Last time it was here (pointing to a mark from a previous bounce). So, it just depends on who’s bouncing it I think. Huh?

Higher or lower? Wow! You got it all the way up to here (marking on the wall).

Travis: Can I test this one?

Lisa Lee: Yup.

Treyshaun: Can I test this one?

Lisa Lee: Yup. Hang on to it (pointing to Claire). Not at the same time, though. Wait until Treyshaun’s out of the way.

Ball bounces very high.

All: Whoa!!!

Benchmarks and How They Were Met

BenchmarksHow They Were Met
Language Arts
1.A.ECa: Follow simple one-, two- and three-step directions.
Maddie, Treyshaun, Claire, Travis, and Caleb followed the teacher’s instructions for bouncing the balls.
Language Arts
1.E.ECb: Exhibit curiosity and interest in learning new words heard in conversations and books.
Treyshaun asked, “What is this?”
Language Arts
2.C.ECa: Interact with a variety of types of texts (e.g., storybooks, poems, rhymes, songs).
Treyshaun asked the teacher why she was drawing on the wall. He and the other children recognized that the chalk marks and writing indicated how high various balls had bounced.
7.A.ECb: Use nonstandard units to measure attributes such as length and capacity.
Children used the teacher’s chalk marks as indicators of height of bounce.
7.A.ECc: Use vocabulary that describes and compares length, height, weight, capacity, and size.
Travis and Treyshaun used the words “high” and “lower.” With teacher assistance, the children used observation and marks on the wall to bounce higher or lower than another ball.
8.A.ECa: Sort, order, compare, and describe objects according to characteristics or attribute(s).
The children recognized and named different types of balls, with some teacher assistance.
10.B.ECb: Make predictions about the outcome prior to collecting information, with teacher support and multiple experiences over time.
Children predicted how high different balls would bounce, and the teacher marked height of bounce with chalk.
12.D.ECb: Explore the effect of force on objects in and outside the early childhood environment.
Each child put physical effort into bouncing a ball. Children explored the behavior of the bounced balls, making predictions, observations, and comparisons.
Physical Development and Health
19.A.ECc: Use strength and control to accomplish tasks.
Each child held his/her ball above his/her head and released it with a forceful downward movement.
Physical Development and Health
19.C.ECa: Follow simple safety rules while participating in activities.
Children waited for their turns by sitting on the tunnel structure.
Physical Development and Health
21.B.ECa: Demonstrate ability to cooperate with others during group physical activities
Children waited on the tunnel until it was their turn to bounce a ball. They also showed interest in the results of classmates’ turns.
Social/emotional Development
30.C.ECa: Exhibit eagerness and curiosity as a learner.
The children enthusiastically selected balls to “try.” Travis and Treyshaun each asked to “test” a second ball. All of the children called out with enthusiasm when the last ball bounced very high.

Note: This video clip was made possible by STARnet Regions I & III with funding from the Illinois State Board of Education.