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.

Reviews

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
  • 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-PS2-1 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.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
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.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
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.

Comments about Including the 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.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
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.

Comments about Including the 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.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
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.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
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.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
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.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Cause and effect relationships are inherent in any investigation testing the effects of force on motion. It is suggested that the teacher introduce this Crosscutting Concept prior to the activity, so the students are cognizant of this relationship as they conduct their investigation. Discussions about the cause and effect relationships of forces on the motion of the various balls as they roll and collide should then follow logically as they discuss their data, whether during or upon conclusion of the investigation.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson was created on July 20, 2004, well prior to the release of the Next Generation Science Standards. It was selected because of its focus on having the students make predictions as they conducted this investigation. With each additional trial students are asked to look for patterns in data with which to predict future motion, a perfect match to Performance Expectation 3-PS2-2. With explicit teacher and student attention to the three dimensions the resource is strongly aligned.

  • Instructional Supports: This lesson includes an “Invitation to Learn,” which will get students thinking about how forces affect motion and provide them with a context for conducting the investigation. As this lesson is targeted for third graders, the teacher may need to discuss the connection between the forces and resultant motion observed in this engagement activity, and what they will observe in the investigation. Discussions during and after the investigation are definitely recommended to reinforce the cause and effect relationships inherent in forces and motion, as well as the patterns of evidence that should emerge as the students conduct their trials. Differentiation of instruction for struggling students is not addressed. Struggling students should be strategically placed in teams that can provide support for these individuals. Consider taking the investigation outside where they can explore the motion of various balls more kinesthetically. The prediction and observation cells of the recording sheet could also be scaffolded to include sentence frames such as: The _______ ball will go farther than the ______ ball. Or the _____ ball will push the _____ ball. The lesson extension is suggested for students who have high interest or have exceeded the Performance Expectations.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Although the “Invitation to Learn” doubles as a pre-assessment, it will only function as such if there is a mechanism to document the student’s ability to make predictions. To that end, having the students record their predictions and observations in journal or notebook is recommended. Observations as the students conduct their investigations, discussions during and at the conclusion of the investigation, and the Collision Zone recording sheet will provide the teacher with formative assessment information.

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