Anchoring Phenomenon

Objects do not move on their own.

Lesson Concept

Plan and carry out an investigation to determine the cause and effect (strength and direction) of a push on an object.

Investigative Phenomenon

Windy days change how the ball moves in soccer.


Click here for NGSS, CCSS-ELA, and California ELD standards.

Time | Materials | Advance Preparation


80 minutes

Part I35 minutes
10 minutesEngage
15 minutesExplore 1
10 minutesExplain 1
Part II45 minutes
30 minutesExplore 2
10 minutesExplain 2
5 minutesElaborate/Evaluate


Whole Class

  • Wind-Assisted Goal video
  • Fan with at least two different speed settings
  • Soccer ball
  • Bags with a set of materials for the wind investigation
  • K.4.C1: Class Notebook (continuation of K.1.C1: Class Notebook started in Lesson 1: Exploration Box)

Group (Groups of 2)

  • Grooved ruler (one per group)
  • Rubber bouncy ball (½ inch in diameter), ping pong ball, or pom-pom (Find a ball that will stay on the ruler.)
  • 8½” by 11” piece of paper
  • Different-colored markers
  • Gallon-sized bag
  • 12” by 18” construction paper for recording the movement of the ball


  • 2 Coffee straws (small diameter)
  • 2 Drinking straws (large diameter)

Teacher Use

Advance Preparation

  1. Place two coffee straws, two drinking straws, one rubber ball or ping pong ball, two different-colored markers, and one piece of 8 ½” by 11” paper in a gallon-sized bag for each set of partners.
  2. Make and display a set-up of the wind investigation (see K.4.R1: Wind Investigation Set-up).
  3. Review the Wind-Assisted Goal video.
  4. Prepare the K.4.C1: Class Notebook as described in the Toolbox for this lesson.

Part I

Engage (10 minutes)

Ask questions about how a soccer ball can move without a person pushing the ball.

  1. Ask students to think about a day when the weather was very windy (or have students stand in front of a fan). Students consider when they have been out on a windy day and describe how they felt and what they observed. Share ideas.
  2. Show the Wind-Assisted Goal video and ask students to observe the movement of the soccer ball on a windy day. Share observations. Show the video one more time, and record observations on the left side of a page of the K.4.C1: Class Notebook with the heading “What Do We Notice?”
  3. Ask, “What do we wonder about what is happening in the video?” Students can use the sentence frame: I wonder ______.

    Record their wonderings as questions on the right side of the same page of the K.4.C1: Class Notebook.

    Kindergarteners may wonder if something or someone is flying above the field and hit the ball. Guide students toward another explanation for what is pushing the ball. If students do not suggest the wind, introduce that concept with the fan in the next step.

  5. Display a fan and ask students, “How can we use this fan to test how windy weather might affect the soccer balls?” Record ideas in the K.4.C1: Class Notebook. Record ideas to test.
  6. Test a few of the students’ ideas such as moving the direction of the fan or changing the speed of the fan by placing a ball in front of the fan so students can observe what happens to the ball. Record the results of these informal trials and any new student questions on the K.4.C1: Class Notebook.

    Using air in this part of the sequence provides students with a better opportunity to control the strength of the push. Students are more readily able to recognize when the puff push is greater versus lesser than when they use their own fingers or hands. The use of air as a force potentially moves students beyond grade-level in the DCI as they don’t yet know that air is made of particles.

Explore I (15 minutes)

Conduct an investigation to observe how the size of straws affect the distance an object travels.

  1. Ask students to remember how the strong wind blew the soccer ball backward in the video. Explain that we don’t have enough fans for everyone in the room. Ask, “How might we use two different-sized straws to figure out which straw would make a stronger wind that pushes the ball farther?” (Hold up the two different-sized straws). Chart ideas in the K.4.C1: Class Notebook.
  2. Distribute the bags of materials to partners (4 straws, a ball, 2 different-colored markers, and a sheet of construction paper) and ask students to figure out which straw makes the stronger wind. Use your ideas from the K.4.C1: Class Notebook.
  3. Debrief at the meeting place and ask students to report what they found out. Record the results on the K.4.C1: Class Notebook. Review the list and notice any patterns made by the wind from the large straw or the small straw. Students will report that the ball curved rather than going in a straight line.
  4. Image via Emerson/Bandini Elementary, San Diego
    Unified School District [Used with Permission]
    Image via Vista Unified School District
    [Used with Permission]
  5. Hold up a ruler with a groove down the center and tell students to go back to their work tables and figure out at least one way to use the ruler to guide the direction of the ball. Distribute a ruler to each group. Encourage practice with the ruler as a track for the object.
  6. Ask students how they can figure out how to blow the same amount of air through each straw. As you walk around, listen for ideas from the students and record those ideas on the K.4.C1: Class Notebook.
    1. Encourage practice blowing for 3 seconds. This can be accomplished by counting aloud.
    2. Ask students to practice using the large straw and then the small straw to blow for 3 seconds. Encourage multiple practices making sure each puff is about the same strength.
  7. Ask the students to remove the two differentcolored markers from the bag and set up their track on construction paper. Think of a way to make marks to record how far the ball travels after each puff. Listen to several groups and record their ideas on the K.4.C1: Class Notebook to guide other groups.
  8. Ask students to set up their track with the construction paper under the ruler on their work tables. If the ball is going off the end of the ruler, they should try to blow for 2-seconds and 1-second. Have them use a different-colored marker for the different-sized straws. Remind students they can record more than one puff for each straw to see if each puff is about the same.
  9. Have the students put their materials back into the bag (their straws, the ball, the ruler, and markers) and put the baggie in their cubbies to use tomorrow. Have them bring the construction paper with their recorded results to the meeting place.

    This is an ideal opportunity to introduce or reintroduce the word pattern. Remind them that when we notice when something happens over and over, it may be a pattern. For example, the wider straw allows more air to hit the ball, moving it a greater distance than the thinner straw.

    Students may keep their own straws in a different place such as their desk so they can use them for the next part of the lesson. Otherwise, replace their straws so that they avoid sharing germs.

Explain I (10 minutes)

Analyze and interpret data and look for patterns in the distance the ball traveled using two different-sized straws.

  1. Ask partners to share individual recording sheets and talk knee-to-knee about what they noticed in the distances the ball moved from the puffs from each straw. Ask each partner to tell their partner what they noticed.
  2. Ask two or three partners to come to the front and place their recording sheets in front of the class. Ask them to trace a line from where they puffed to the landing places for the ball.
    1. Compare the student samples and ask the class what patterns they notice between the recording sheets.
    2. Ask, “What caused the ball to move farther with the large straw? What caused the ball to stop sooner with the small straw?”
    3. Ask, “What is the pattern between discs in the last lesson and how the ball moved in this lesson?” Record patterns on a page of the K.4.C1: Class Notebook, “Things We Figured Out About Pushes.”

    The guiding questions are designed to get the students to make the connection that a greater push of air causes the ball to travel a greater distance. A smaller push of air, or lesser push of air, causes the ball to travel a shorter distance. Students may notice that not all recorded distances are exactly the same. Lead a discussion of how the puffs might be different for different students.

Part II

Explore II (30 minutes)

Plan and conduct an investigation to test the effects of air puffs to change the direction of the ball’s movement.

  1. Display the K.4.C1: Class Notebook (Things We Figured Out About Pushes) and review what causes things to move farther. Share any patterns.
  2. Review several pages of the Class Notebook to identify what we have figured out about what makes a ball move, how we increase the speed at which an object moves by pushing a disc, or by blowing in a straw, and how we stop a ball. Today we want to see if we can use the same materials and plan a way to make the ball go in a different direction.
  3. Image via Vista Unified School District
    [Used with Permission]
  4. Display one of the sets of the material used yesterday–the ball, the ruler, and the two straws. Tell students one player will push (kick) the ball with their fingers, and the other player will use a straw to be the wind blowing to try to change the ball’s direction (as we saw in the video). Ask partners to talk about how we can plan to make the ball go in different directions using the wind.
  5. Display a new page in the K.4.C1: Class Notebook (Our Plan to Change Directions.) Ask students for ideas of how to change the direction the ball moves (using the straw) after the kick (the tap with the fingers). Also, discuss how they will record the path of their ball. Record all ideas on the top half of the K.4.C1: Class Notebook.
  6. Guide students to select which of the ideas might work for the whole class to try. First, ask students to identify ideas that might work. Then establish an order in which to try the ideas. Record the ideas in order on the bottom of the page.
  7. This class did the investigation
    differently. They blew with the
    straw and changed the direction
    with the ruler.
    Image via Vista Unified School District
    [Used with Permission]
  8. Write “#1 Idea” on the K.4.C1: Class Notebook page and use pictures and or words to plan each step of the idea including recording the path of the ball. Remember one person is the kicker (using a tap) and one person is the wind (using a straw).
  9. Ask students to use the bags of materials they put in their cubbies yesterday and a piece of construction paper. Have them set up the investigation according to the class plan.
    1. Record results directly on the construction paper. Use arrows to record the movement and direction the ball travels from the kick (tap) through the movement caused by the air puff (blowing through the straw).
    2. Repeat by conducting the investigation three times. Use a different- colored marker to record each trial on the construction paper.

Explain II (10 minutes)

Analyze and interpret data to determine the effects of the air puffs on the movement of the ball.

  1. Have students return to the meeting place, bringing the construction paper. Share different recording sheets and ask each set of partners how they were able to change the direction of the ball. Ask the whole group, “What patterns do we see in the recording sheets?”
  2. Review the other plans selected in the K.4.C1: Class Notebook page and discuss whether students need to do additional plans. If yes, additional plans can be explored during freechoice time and reported tomorrow.
  3. Read The Three Little Pigs and talk about how the huff and puffs forced the homes to move or not move. Why do students think the brick house did not blow over? Discuss the differences between fiction and nonfiction.

Elaborate/Evaluate (5 minutes)

Construct an explanation about what caused the soccer ball to change direction in the video.

  1. Play the Wind-Assisted Goal video, and ask students to think about how the video is like the plan for changing the direction of the ball using the straw and wind. Ask the group, “What is the same about the wind blowing the soccer ball and the puff of air blowing the balls in our plan? What is different?”
  2. Review the “figuring out pages” created in the Class Notebook during the last four lessons. Which pages show what we have figured out? Go through the pages and check to see if the class has a clear understanding of
    1. ways to make the ball move,
    2. ways to push or pull soccer materials to the field,
    3. ways to strengthen the distance of the movement of the ball,
    4. ways to stop the movement of the ball by pushing in the opposite direction,
    5. ways to direct the movement of the ball.
    Develop a new page in the K.4.C1: Class Notebook with the heading: “What We Know for Sure About Pushes and Pulls in Soccer.”

    Leave the materials out for practicing pushes and pulls with the wind and rulers at the choice centers until students all seem confident with predicting the pattern of the path of the ball or pom-pom using the ruler and blowing using their own personal straws saved in their cubbies.

  4. Display the Class Notebook page of additional questions brainstormed at the end of Lesson 3: Cruising Discs. Focus on any questions about getting around a blocker or another player. Tomorrow we will work on figuring out how to get around other players to answer that question.

Literacy Links

Have students interact with text to extend their understanding of pushes. These selections can be read aloud at any time after this lesson. Suggested books include the following:



Alborough, J. (2014). Duck in the Truck. Tulsa, OK: Kane Miller.

Euronews. (2015, November 20). Crazy wind-assisted own goal! Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzutX8bm5mo

Merz, J. J. (2007). Playground Day! New York, NY: Clarion Books.

Shaw, N., & Apple, M. (2019). Sheep in a Jeep: 5-Minute Stories. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


Download K.4.C1

Download K.4.R1