Newton and Me

Contributor
Lynne Mayer
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Informative Text
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

Newton and Me tells the story of a young boy and how he discovers the Disciplinary Core Ideas of Forces and Motion in his daily activities with his dog.  Readers follow these best friends as the boy applies these core ideas to the throwing of a ball, the pulling of a wagon, and more. There is also a significant amount of back matter to support student’s understanding of these concepts.  This resource was specifically designed to be a launchpad for discussions and learning. It could also be used to reinforce students learning, and to reinforce their English Language Arts skills while deepening their understanding of forces and motion.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
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-PS2-2 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
Throughout the story, the boy observes multiple examples of how gravity, the mass of the object, the strength of the force, and oppositional forces (friction, air resistance) affect the motion of objects. Having the students conduct investigations based on these observations will reveal patterns in the data that can be used to predict future motion.

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 was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
In this story, the boy’s observations are shared as he engages in various activities with his dog. On page 8 the truck wouldn’t roll unless he gave it a push. Then on pages 25-26, the boy observes how nothing happened when the dog pulled as hard as he did when playing tug-o-war, but would step forward or fall when the dog pulled harder. To explicitly align these observations to the Performance Expectation, the focus needs to be on how the objects at rest and in motion are the result of balanced and unbalanced forces. Just as the boy’s observations gives him “an idea he wants to test,” having students plan and conduct the investigations in the classroom would provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of objects.

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.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
In this story, the boy makes observations that serve as the basis for investigating how forces affect the motion of objects. Having students conduct investigations based on these observations will produce the data and provide evidence to support their explanations, whether they are investigating balanced and unbalanced forces, or how patterns in the evidence can be used to predict future motion. Some suggestions for investigations can be found in the back matter. A printer-friendly version can be found here: http://www.arbordalepublishing.com/ForCreativeMinds/Newton_FCM.pdf

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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
In the text, the truck would not travel until the boy gave it a push. He needed to increase the strength of the force exerted in order to pedal his bike uphill. Activities such as these enabled the boy to observe that forces have strength and direction. The truck at rest is a great example of zero net force. But rather than understanding that multiple forces are acting on it that sum up to zero, students often hold the misconception that the object is resting because there are no forces acting on it. As you read the story, students should be encouraged to identify the sources of force in each of the scenarios. They should come up with pushes and pulls, but may need guidance to identify friction, gravity, and the force of stationary objects pushing back. Engaging students in the investigation found within the section titled, “Normal Force” of this resource will enable them to experience how stationary objects exert a force: http://idahoptv.org/sciencetrek/topics/force_and_motion/facts.cfm Tug Teams from AIMS is another activity recommended for your consideration: https://store.aimsedu.org/item/da3916/tug-teams/1.html Finally, the following video resource is provided to give the teacher an understanding of how multiple forces acting on objects can result in zero net force: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwpT0ZBxcys.

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
Through the boy’s observations and their own investigations, students will learn how the strength of the force causes changes in an object’s speed or direction, how the mass of the object affects that amount of force needed to move it, and how oppositional forces such as friction and air resistance affects an object’s motion. Patterns should emerge from the results of their investigations that enable students to make predictions about future motion in successive trials, or across several groups conducting the same investigation.

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
As recommended in the Disciplinary Core Ideas, patterns should emerge from the boy’s observations and the results of their own investigations that will enable students to make predictions about future motion in successive trials, or across several groups conducting the same investigations.

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
The boy makes multiple observations of how forces, (pushes, pulls, gravitational and oppositional), affect the motion of objects. The cause and effect relationships can easily be made more explicit by asking the students to identify the cause and effect relationships as experienced and observed by the boy. Examples of questions to ask the students might include, “What caused the truck to move?” Or, “What was the effect of pushing the truck?” The teacher could also have the students generate their own questions by asking, “What are your observations? What do you wonder?” Any of these questions could be investigated by the students, and the results of their investigations used to explain change.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Implementation of the suggestions provided in this review will enable students to engage in three-dimensional learning to make sense of phenomena. Many opportunities are provided for them to use the text and back matter to understand the effect of forces on the motion of objects. As the author intended the story to be a launchpad for discussion and learning, student-generated questions based on their wonderings, and investigations to support their explanation of the phenomena would logically follow as next steps in their learning. To fully engage the students in three-dimensional learning, the concept of balanced and unbalanced forces and crosscutting concepts of cause and effect as well as patterns needs to be made explicit.

  • Instructional Supports: This resource engages students in meaningful scenarios that would be experienced by a child in the real world. Through a facilitated discussion of the story it could provide opportunities for students to express, clarify, and justify their ideas about the phenomena. There is a significant amount of back matter written at the appropriate lexile level to support student understanding. There are many sources where this story is read aloud on YouTube, and they could be used by struggling readers who many need to multiple opportunities to hear the story. Finally, there is a Teaching Activity Guide that provides supports including questions to ask before, during and after reading, and in the areas of Science, Math, and Language Arts: http://www.arbordalepublishing.com/documents/TeachingActivities/Newton_TA.pdf

  • Monitoring Student Progress: In the Teaching Activity Guide there is a “What Do Children Already Know” worksheet where students are asked to write down what they think they know before reading the book. If the information is verified through the reading of the story, they would check “yes.” If the information is wrong however, they would mark “no,” cross it off, then write in the correct information. Students would then record how the information was verified. This resource would provide the teacher with excellent pre/post assessment information. In addition, the results of student investigations will provide an assessment of their understanding of patterns in forces and motion.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource is an ebook version of the story and was the basis for this review. However, it does not include a technologically interactive component.