Mystery Forces is a non-fiction selection from Amplify Learning’s Seeds of Science, Roots of Reading. The story presents a series of mysterious events, and asks students to be a “force detective” to determine which force (electrostatic, gravity or magnetic) caused the event. Students are engaged in the scientific practice of constructing an explanation based on evidence as they solve each mystery.
This book supports students’ understanding of non-contact forces for third grade. The different mysteries could be presented as anchoring phenomena to be solved as the students engage in the investigation of the phenomena for each case. The explanations in the story could then be used as the basis for discussing the student’s explanations and developing students' understanding of these concepts. While gravitational force as a performance expectation is actually addressed until fifth grade, the Atlas of Science Literacy does place the learning of this concept within the range of grades 3-5 (http://strandmaps.dls.ucar.edu/?id=SMS-MAP-1372), making it acceptable to include this concept at the third grade level. It is also included in the Assessment Boundary for Grade 3.