BBC Science Clips - Push and Pulls

Type Category
Instructional Materials
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.



This BBC, animated, Science Clip is a grade appropriate push and pull simulation.  It engages the student in the study of soft and hard forces and the resulting motion.  A toy horse is set at the top of a track. Students give the horse a hard or soft pull or push.  The toy horse travels down the track an appropriate distance.  Obstacles can be put in the path of the toy horse.  All of the instructions have an oral reading icon and there is a help section.  The simulation does not come with a lesson plan.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
  • Grade 1
Access Restrictions

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

Performance Expectations

K-PS2-1 Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object

Clarification Statement: Examples of pushes or pulls could include a string attached to an object being pulled, a person pushing an object, a person stopping a rolling ball, and two objects colliding and pushing on each other.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to different relative strengths or different directions, but not both at the same time. Assessment does not include non-contact pushes or pulls such as those produced by magnets.

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
To meet this Performance Expectation students should be encouraged to make predictions and/or ask questions prior to running the simulation. They should also be given a large group share out to make sure the students understand the protocols of using a simulation. Each student is able to manipulate the strength of a push or pull to change the motion of the toy horse.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This may be the first time that a student is using a simulation to study the phenomenon. The simulation output includes visual observations of the distance the horse travels down the track and the speed that the horse travels down the track. Students can track data, but they need to create a recording sheet. Teachers can support them in this process by having students discuss their findings in a large group discussion.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This simulation provides students with the opportunity to manipulate and explore the interaction of factors strength of force as compared to distance traveled. A student can easily see the distance that the toy horse travels. Its speed can be qualitatively noticed but it is not quantitatively recorded in this simulation and does not need be done at the kindergarten level.

Crosscutting Concepts

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
This simulation provides students with the opportunity to manipulate and explore the interaction of strength of pushes and pulls and the resulting distance that the object travels is an observable and repeatable pattern.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Elements of the Disciplinary Core Idea are significantly addressed. The focus of this simulation is to support students in making sense of the strength of the force and its resulting motion. It also provides the student opportunity to describe the cause and effect relationships. A simulation is a different tool that can be used to understand the world. The controlled environment of a simulation reduces the errors that can occur when the inexperienced hands of kindergarteners try to do this activity in real time. The results are repeated thus developing the opportunity for the student to have repeated sense making and pattern observations.

  • Instructional Supports: The simulation does not provide many instructional supports but it does provide differentiated instruction. Students that can not read the instructions are provided an oral reading icon. Embedding this simulation into a lesson dedicated to this Disciplinary Core Idea would offer students a relevant and authentic learning experience and provide excitement during the learning process.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The simulation does not provide a method for monitoring student progress. However, the teacher could easily implement the simulation in a way to monitor students’ progress. For example, pairs of students could prepare a presentation that includes the question they investigated. The teacher should also provide a Student Activity Sheet or notebooking opportunities, that is Kindergarten appropriate, for students to record their understandings. An assessment is provided and could lead to other investigations with push and pull. It is not aligned to the Disciplinary Core Idea.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The animated simulation is grade appropriate and straightforward to use. It provides numerous ways for students to manipulate it. The results of the simulation are always accurate. The simulation is relevant to an early elementary student. . The functionality is directly related to learning about strength of pushes and pulls and the resulting motion.