# Collision Zone

Contributor
Utah Education Network
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Experiment/Lab Activity , Lesson/Lesson Plan , Activity
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

Students make predictions, then investigate what will happen when balls of various sizes, weights, and material compositions collide with one another.  Trials provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of  objects.  Patterns in motion emerge as students progress through the investigation that students then use to predict future motion.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
• Upper Elementary
Language
English
Access Restrictions

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

#### Performance Expectations

3-PS2-1 Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.

Clarification Statement: Examples could include an unbalanced force on one side of a ball can make it start moving; and, balanced forces pushing on a box from both sides will not produce any motion at all.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to one variable at a time: number, size, or direction of forces. Assessment does not include quantitative force size, only qualitative and relative. Assessment is limited to gravity being addressed as a force that pulls objects down.

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

As students progress through the trials they observe that balls of similar mass and/or material composition result in evidence of balanced reactions when colliding. Balls that are dissimilar in mass and/or material composition result in unbalanced reactions, with different changes in speed and direction for both objects when they collide. Group and classwide discussion of observed changes in motion is key here to having students construct explanations and critique one another's explanations with evidence around this phenomena. The variety of balls being used in this investigation will yield a rich discussion as students discover how mass and material composition affected the amount of force exerted when the balls collide. To fully address this performance expectation, students may plan an investigation based on the wonderings generated upon conclusion of their investigation.

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.

Students will make observations of the different ball’s motions as they roll then collide with each other. As a pattern of evidence emerges, students should become increasingly accurate in their predictions of future motion as they proceed from trial to trial. After a few trials, the teacher should facilitate a discussion to help the students articulate the patterns they see and explanations for the collision phenomena.

#### Science and Engineering Practices

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

In this investigation students will make observations to produce data that will serve as the basis for evidence to explain the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of objects.

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

The rolling of the ball is an uncontrolled variable that should become evident to students as they discuss the results of their investigations. Students could discuss how a fairer test might be conducted, plan, and then conduct a new investigation. As the release of the ball is difficult variable to control, replicable trials are suggested as one way to create a fairer test. Or, a simple ball launcher in the form of a cardboard ramp could be created to launch the balls onto the track.

#### Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

This investigation provides multiple experiences for students to observe and understand the phenomena of the different forces that are exerted when two objects collide.

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

As students progress through the trials they will observe that balls of similar mass and/or material composition will result in evidence of balanced forces when colliding. Balls that are dissimilar in mass and/or material composition will result in unbalanced forces when rolled and a change in speed and direction for both objects when they collide. Student discourse is key here to having these concepts emerge as students share their findings. Teachers can improve student discourse by providing sentence frames and using tools such as "Talk Moves" to develop, expand and clarify their thinking, and deepen their reasoning is suggested to facilitate this discussion: https://inquiryproject.terc.edu/shared/pd/TalkScience_Primer.pdf. To fully address this Disciplinary Core Idea, it is suggested that the teacher have the students make observations and have a discussion about what they observed when the balls were at rest.

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

As articulated in the tips for Performance Expectation 3-PS2-2, students should see patterns of evidence as they make observations of the different balls as they roll and then collide with each other. As the pattern of evidence emerges, students should become increasingly accurate in their predictions of future motion as they proceed from trial to trial. After a few trials, the teacher should facilitate a discussion to help the students articulate the patterns they see. While students will engage in measurement as they predict and count the number of washers it will take to move the bag of rice in the engagement activity, it is not explicit in the collision activity itself. The inclusion of qualitative measurement in terms of the size and direction of movement as the balls collide will serve to enhance the student’s ability to see patterns and make predictions as the proceed from trial to trial. To assess student understanding of this concept, students might then complete something like this: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ajmHBtUh_20_vXM6HmkIkB7e9xldgJ2qpBwBcfxWg_A/edit

#### Crosscutting Concepts

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

The patterns of evidence that emerges as the students conduct their trials should enable them to make increasingly accurate predictions about the future motions of the various balls. Students may not realize they are looking for patterns in their data as they proceed from trial to trial and the application of the concept of patterns may need to be made explicit by the teacher.

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.