It’s all Downhill: An i-can™ Activity

Want to do some sledding but your fresh out of snow? No problem! Take on this challenge to bring outdoor winter fun inside no matter where you live.

Create a hill and a sled that can slide down your hill all the way to the bottom without falling off mid-slide!

Work alongside your child or let them build on their own.  Either way, here’s how to you can facilitate the activity in your home for maximum i-can™ mindset building fun!

Step #1 – Understand the challenge

Task: Build both a hill and a sled.  The sled should be able to slide all the way down to the bottom without falling off.

Materials: What materials can your child use?  Check out our low-cost makerspace materials list for suggestions.  If there are a lot of empty boxes around your house, put them to use!  We all know the box the toy comes in is more fun than the toy itself!

Step #2 – Ideate using questions as prompts

Question #1: What will our hill be made of?
Possible Follow-up questions: What parts does the hill need to have?  What might it look like? Draw your idea.

Question #2: How will we get the hill to stand up without falling over?
Possible Follow-up questions: When is it easier for you to stand up: when you are standing on just one foot or two feet spread apart?

Question #3: How can we make sure the sled doesn’t fall off the hill?
Possible Follow-up questions: What does the playground have to keep you from falling off the slide?

Question #4: How can we make sure the sled can slide down without getting stuck?
Possible Follow-up questions: Is it easier to slide on something that is smooth or rough?

Note:  You don’t have to use all of these prompts at this stage.  In fact many of these questions can be used in the prototype & test phases to help guide a child’s thinking when they run into a challenge.

Steps #3 and #4Prototype and Test

Encourage your child to dive in and get building!

Note: This is a multi-step project, so if your child seems overwhelmed by the number of smaller tasks, ask them to list all the parts they will need to build, and then decide what to tackle first.  We call this “small steps.”

If your child runs into other problems while building, use questions rather than making suggestions to help get your child’s problem solving wheels turning.

As your child builds, encourage them to test out…

  • the hill (Is it sturdy?) and
  • the sled (Does it fit on the hill?  Does it slide all the way to the bottom without falling off?)

Want to make this challenge even more… challenging? Put an egg on the sled and build the sled in a way that the egg does not crack on its journey!

Have fun building, and don’t forget to share any pictures of your creations with us!
– i-imagine, i-can, i-do!

Want another challenge?  Check out a few more…
Catch a Snowflake
Trap a Monster
Build a Home for a Paper Person

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