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  • Middle School

    Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects. MS-PS2-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object. MS-PS2-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces. MS-PS2-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  4. Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects. MS-PS2-4

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  5. Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact. MS-PS2-5

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

Science and Engineering Practices

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include constructing explanations and designing solutions supported by multiple sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Engaging in argument from evidence in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to constructing a convincing argument that supports or refutes claims for either explanations or solutions about the natural and designed world(s).

Disciplinary Core Ideas

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections


  • RST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-PS2-1), (MS-PS2-3)
  • RST.6-8.3 - Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks. (MS-PS2-1), (MS-PS2-2), (MS-PS2-5)
  • WHST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-PS2-2)
  • WHST.6-8.7 - Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration. (MS-PS2-1), (MS-PS2-5)


  • 6.EE.A.2 - Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers. (MS-PS2-1), (MS-PS2-2)
  • 6.NS.C.5 - Understand that positive and negative numbers are used together to describe quantities having opposite directions or values (e.g., temperature above/below zero, elevation above/below sea level, credits/debits, positive/negative electric charge); use positive and negative numbers to represent quantities in real-world contexts, explaining the meaning of 0 in each situation. (MS-PS2-1)
  • 7.EE.B.3 - Solve multi-step real-life and mathematical problems posed with positive and negative rational numbers in any form (whole numbers, fractions, and decimals), using tools strategically. Apply properties of operations to calculate with numbers in any form; convert between forms as appropriate; and assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies. (MS-PS2-1), (MS-PS2-2)
  • 7.EE.B.4 - Use variables to represent quantities in a real-world or mathematical problem, and construct simple equations and inequalities to solve problems by reasoning about the quantities. (MS-PS2-1), (MS-PS2-2)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (MS-PS2-1), (MS-PS2-2), (MS-PS2-3)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • This two-minute video shows the phenomenon of a cannonball being fired from a cannon and the cannon rolling backwards as it is fired. 

    This phenomenon could stimul…

  • In this game, students use their understanding of momentum, Newton’s 2nd and 3rd Law, and forces, to send rubber ducks through obstacles to a food source.  BumperDucks is an educational physical science game…

  • A 5-E lesson about electromagnets.  Students will do an activity to introduce them to the link between electricity and magnetism.  They then test variables that they believe may affect the strength of electro…

  • This lesson plan and student worksheet have students use an online simulation to explore the relationship between gravitational pull, masses, and distance.  An optional assessment has students write one or two cla…

  • In this lesson, students use their knowledge of forces to answer the driving question: What components and materials can be used to create a model chair lift, designed to carry a set of aid materials?  They use th…

  • Students investigate the transfer of electric charge and electric force by building and using electroscopes.  They use the electroscopes they built, to make qualitative observations about the static electric charg…

  • This is an online simulation in which spheres of varying masses are “hit” with varying amounts of force, and the resulting accelerations are displayed in table format.  Students are asked to come up wi…

  • This is a collection of activities and links on the Physics Classroom website, about Newton’s Third Law of Motion. Many of these directly reference objects' behavior during collisions. Some of the materials are created by the Physics Classroom them…

  • This resource is a Word document comprising a 5-E lesson sequence about the relationship between force, mass and motion. Components include activities, a video clip, a reading with interactive questions, designing and running an experiment, and disc…

  • This interactive from PBS ZOOM Games has students play alone or head-to-head to move a “goal puck” onto a target by colliding into it with “game pucks”. Variables include the masses of the pucks and the amount of friction from various surfaces. Stu…

  • This resource pairs an educational video that examines Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion in the sport of hockey with a lab activity exploring the three laws. In the lab activity, students are encouraged to design their own experiments and/or demonstrations …

  • The resource describes five short activities involving static electricity attraction and repulsion, then offers suggestions for students to alter activities by changing one suggested variable at a time, in order to design and try their own investigat…

  • Students use the engineering design process to design and build magnetic-field detectors, and use them to find hidden magnets. Parallels are drawn to real-world NASA missions and how NASA scientists use magnetic field data from planets and moons. …

  • Students will investigate the characteristics of electromagnetism and then use what they learn to plan and conduct an experiment on electromagnets.…

  • A teacher-submitted, NGSS-mindful lesson plan for using the PhET model "Forces and Motion - Basics". The model uses a tug-of-war with participants of different sizes and strengths, placed different distances from the center, in order to show how f…

  • Students enter a weight on Earth, and view the equivalent weight on other planets, Pluto, Earth’s moon, some of Jupiter’s moons, and a few types of stars. The calculator/model is followed by a reading about the difference between mass and weight, …

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  • Virtual labs are the most advanced platform application simulators for physical laboratories available. Through more than 120 labs in Chemistry, Physics, and Natural Science, students can interact with specific instruments and tools to complement the...

Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.