Force and Motion Investigation

Contributor
Better Lesson Marybelle Espin
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Experiment/Lab Activity , Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

In this lesson, students will collaboratively conduct an investigation to test how the strength of a force and the mass of an object affects motion.  The data produced will serve as the basis for explanation of this phenomena. Tips are provided that will also enable students to apply the data collected to predict future motion.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 3
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

3-PS2-2 Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.

Clarification Statement: Examples of motion with a predictable pattern could include a child swinging in a swing, a ball rolling back and forth in a bowl, and two children on a see-saw.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include technical terms such as period and frequency.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
In this investigation, students will test the effects of increasing force on two types of balls, a ping-pong ball and toy rubber ball when pushed with a pencil. They are provided questions that guide their observations and thinking as they engage in their experimentation. They will take and record measurements of the distances the balls travel when pushed with increasing force. This data will provide a pattern of evidence (frequency of occurrence) that the the harder the ball is pushed, the farther it will travel away from the source of the force (strength and direction). Prediction of future motion is easily incorporated by asking students to predict the amount of force and distance the balls will travel before proceeding with the experimentation from push points (trials) 2 and 3.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
As described in the tips for the Performance Expectation, students will make observations and take measurements to produce data that explains a force has strength and direction. It should be noted that the different starting points at which the pencil starts are identified as trials. As trials are defined as a set of repeated measurements (ScienceSaurus, 2005), it is suggested that they be identified as “Push Points” instead. Teachers may also want to have the students conduct replicable trials from each push point to increase the reliability of their data. As the averaging of data points is not addressed in the Common Core Standards for Mathematics until the later grades, the students could take the median of each data set instead. The technique to push the balls is not described in this lesson. While pushing the pencil like a pool cue works, laying the pencil horizontally on the push point line and flicking it to hit both balls simultaneously is also effective. The teacher may want to engage students in soliciting ideas and exploring the best method for pushing the balls. It is also recommended that the technique for pushing the ball be practiced before experimentation to enable better control of this variable. Lastly, a discussion of the term variables and how they might affect the outcome of their investigations is suggested.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The students will observe and take measurements of the distances the balls travel when pushed with increasing force. This data will provide a pattern of evidence (frequency of occurrence) that the the harder the ball is pushed, the farther it will travel away from the source of the force (strength and direction). Future motion can be predicted as students apply increasing amounts of force.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Through this investigation students will observe that the force applied to the balls has strength and direction. To address the concepts of balanced and unbalanced forces, it is recommended that student’s prior knowledge of these concepts be assessed. This could be done formatively through a class discussion and a charting their understandings. Or, students could be asked to respond to a series of focus questions in their science journal. Students could engage in lessons described in the resource “How Does Force Affect Motion?” to develop these concepts prior to engaging in this lesson. The teacher could then engage students to determine how these concepts relate to the speed and direction of travel as they conduct this force and motion investigation.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The students will observe and take measurements of the distances the balls travel when pushed with increasing force. This data will provide a pattern of evidence (frequency of occurrence) that the the harder the ball is pushed, the farther it will travel away from the source of the force (strength and direction). Future motion can be predicted as students apply increasing amounts of force.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson provides grade-appropriate elements of the Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts that enables students to make sense of how forces affect motion. Students are given many opportunities to make observations, produce, and make sense of data that serves as the basis for evidence to explain the phenomena. To more rigorously align this lesson to the dimensions of the NGSS, it is recommended that the patterns in the data that emerge as increasing force is applied be made evident with the students. With teacher guidance, students will be able to identify the patterns as they analyze the data. Once a pattern of outcomes is established, prediction of future motion is easily incorporated by asking students to predict the amount of force and distance the balls will travel before proceeding with the experimentation from push points (trials) 2 and 3.

  • Instructional Supports: This lesson provides students with first hand experiences that enable them to make sense of forces and motion. It opens with students making a real world connection to Tiger Woods hitting a golf ball. If students are unable to relate to Tiger, examples of other sport stars such as Lionel Messi and Alex Morgan for soccer or Mike Trout for baseball are easily substituted. Relevant content vocabulary is developed using a modified Frayer Model. The lesson also provides opportunities for students to express, interpret, and represent their ideas orally through their discussions and in writing through the focus pages to support their learning. To provide for differentiation of instruction, connections to forces in their everyday lives, demonstration of the procedures, repetition of instruction, and visual media are suggested for struggling students. Independent investigations are recommended for high performing students to extend their learning. Billiards and bowling are examples of activities through which such investigations could be conducted, and would be engaging them as well.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Observations as students conduct the investigation, conversations during class discussions, and the student focus pages and notebooks will provide formative assessment information to monitor student progress. A rubric is provided for grading purposes. It may be shared with students at the onset of the lesson to provide a picture of what is expected. This enables them to monitor their own progress. Or, students could be engaged in a discussion of what they think the expectations of the lessons should be for them, and develop their own rubric. Typically, they aspire to a higher standard when the expectations are created by the students themselves.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not include a technologically interactive component.