Relating Formulas to Common Sense: "Oomph"

Andy Elby University of Maryland Physics Education Research Group
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan , Tutorial , Activity
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.



There are several tutorials on the page for this link. This review is under the subheading "Momentum and Energy." It is a small group tutorial that leads students through the construction of an understanding of the concept of momentum and its conservation.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • High School
Access Restrictions

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

Performance Expectations

HS-PS2-2 Use mathematical representations to support the claim that the total momentum of a system of objects is conserved when there is no net force on the system.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the quantitative conservation of momentum in interactions and the qualitative meaning of this principle.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to systems of two macroscopic bodies moving in one dimension.

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This is a tutorial that leads the students to build a conceptual understanding and definition of momentum, and then construct the law of conservation of momentum as an equation.

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
The tutorial guides the students through the creation of an explanation based on the momentum calculation.The tutorial builds from a simple to a more complex scenario and has the student build an understanding of the concept of inertia through the exercises.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The tutorial leads the students through the process of building a definition of momentum. There are several specific situations in which the frame of reference of a situation is explored.

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
In order to use the conservation of momentum, a system has to be defined and any inputs and outputs that affect the system need to be considered.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The tutorial works through a series of problems that help the students explain how things are changing or staying the same as they consider situations of increasing difficulty as students learn how to understand the concept of inertia and momentum.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The tutorial directly supports NGSS through the building of an understanding of the concepts, using the practices in the process of learning, and linking concepts throughout the tutorial.

  • Instructional Supports: The tutorial is easy to use with students instructionally. There is a student handout, teacher's guide that outlines instructional use and assessment, and an accompanying homework assignment.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Reading the responses of the students to the questions in the tutorial will allow the teacher to evaluate the understanding of the students conceptually, and also making use of the accompanying homework assignment as well.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This is a pencil and paper tutorial.