How Does Force Affect Motion?

Contributor
Gerald Darling
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Article , 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

This article describes a series of easy to implement activities that develop the student’s ability to explain what force is, how forces can change the motion of an object, and identify forces acting on an object at rest.  It will also enable students to describe what friction is using everyday examples.  Although these activities were conducted with a class of fourth grade students, they easily adapted for implementation with third graders.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
• Upper Elementary
Language
English
Access Restrictions

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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.

Science and Engineering Practices

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

Through engagement in hands-on activities, the students observe that the application of force by tossing the ball caused it to move, that the more forceful the toss, the greater the speed in which the ball moved, that catching the ball produced an oppositional force causing the ball to stop, and that kicking the ball as they do in soccer changed its direction. The students then used their observations to explain phenomena as they investigated the forces of friction and gravity on the motion of objects. Throughout the activities students are asked questions to explain the phenomena observed. Students will also have lots of questions of their own as they observe the effects of forces on motion. These questions should be recorded as they are the basis for planning and conducting investigations by the students themselves.

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.

Tossing the ball enabled students to recognize that the ball is at rest until the force of the toss causes the ball to move. Rolling the ball on different surfaces enabled students to learn that friction is an oppositional force that stops the ball. Dropping the book on the desk enabled students to recognize that the book was at rest because the downward pull of gravity was balanced by the upward push of the table. Further questioning and discussion is recommended to make the connection between what was learned through these activities with the concepts that a zero net force is the result of multiple forces acting on an object, and that forces that do not add up to zero causes changes in an object’s motion.

Crosscutting Concepts

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