# Bumper Ducks

Contributor
Smithsonian Science Education Center
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Game
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.

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## Description

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 that will help teach players about what happens when two objects collide and how mass and force impact the acceleration of an object. “Lazy Logs” involves collisions where one object is moving, and the objects may have different masses.  “Frog Friends” involves forces of different strengths and directions acting on moving objects.  “Turtle Trouble” involves objects of varying masses colliding at different angles with varying amounts of force.

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
• Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

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

#### Performance Expectations

MS-PS2-2 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.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on balanced (Newton’s First Law) and unbalanced forces in a system, qualitative comparisons of forces, mass and changes in motion (Newton’s Second Law), frame of reference, and specification of units.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to forces and changes in motion in one-dimension in an inertial reference frame and to change in one variable at a time. Assessment does not include the use of trigonometry.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

This activity will lead up to this performance expectation, but is not suitable as a summative assessment. During the “Turtle Trouble” section of the game, the turtle and duck masses affect the amount of force needed to move or stop. This connection is made explicit for students in the tutorial narrations. The interactions of turtles, logs and ducks are controlled quantitatively, via Newton’s second law, f=ma. Students can also use the “sandbox” mode to design their own challenges, which could be a step toward planning investigations with real-life objects.

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

Clarification Statement: Examples of practical problems could include the impact of collisions between two cars, between a car and stationary objects, and between a meteor and a space vehicle.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to vertical or horizontal interactions in one dimension.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

During the course of the game, students solve the “problem” of navigating a duck to a food source, using collisions and momentum. Three different sections of the game introduce ideas of inelastic and elastic collisions, the effect of different masses during a collision, and the effects of forces of different magnitudes during a collision. Although this game is not suitable as a summative assessment, it can be used formatively to see where students are with the ideas of collisions changing motion, or as a lesson, to allow students to visually learn the effects of different kinds of collisions.

#### Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

After the tutorial levels, students use or avoid provided “collision tools” (logs, frogs, and turtles) to design a process that will allow their duck to reach the food. There is also a “sandbox” application where students can design their own challenges. The teacher will need to point out to the students that this is what they are doing. The game itself does not tell players about, or use the language of, the design process. A teacher can highlight the idea of iterative practice and changing the design based on feedback (“what parts worked and what parts didn’t when I tried it”).

#### Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

This idea is spelled out in the tutorial narration, and illustrated by the gameplay.

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

This idea is shown by the action of objects, and is implied but not clearly stated in the tutorial narration. The ducks’ motion is different depending on the relative mass of the duck and the object it collides with, and depending on the initial force applied. This can be a great introduction to ideas about momentum or about elastic vs. inelastic collisions. The “Frog Friends” section includes quantitative ideas of balanced and unbalanced forces that affect the ducks’ motions during collisions. The “Frog Friends” section also depicts 2-dimensional motions as a result of net force. The “Turtle Trouble” section incorporates these ideas and adds collisions where both objects may be of varying masses and experiencing different initial forces.

#### Crosscutting Concepts

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