Experimenting with Force and Motion Using Origami Frogs

Contributor
John Eichinger NSTA Press
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Lesson/Lesson Plan , Activity , Experiment/Lab 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 conduct an investigation through measurement and data analysis of origami frog jumping to predict future motion. The effects of balanced and unbalanced forces are explicitly discussed. This lesson is from “Activities Linking Science with Math, K-4 by John Eichinger.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Available for purchase - The right to view, keep, and/or download material upon payment of a one-time fee.

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
In Activity 1a, which involves the observation of a ball sitting on a desk, the understanding of balanced and unbalanced forces is explicitly introduced and addressed. Activity 1b, which involves a quarter that is placed on an index card over an empty glass, provides further evidence of this concept. Activity 1c enables students to conduct their own investigation as they bounce a ball. To more explicitly address this Performance Expectation, the discussion needs to be refocused away from the laws per se, and on the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of the ball in Activities 1b and 1c. To drive the investigations, the following video may be used as an anchoring phenomenon: Animal Olympians - Long Jump: https://youtu.be/bjKB4rWayb8, along with the focus question: How does our understanding of forces enable us to engineer a frog that can jump the longest distance?

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
The investigation with the origami frogs will enable students to make observations and measurements on which size of frog (small, medium or large - made from 63 mm, 140 mm and 217 mm sized paper respectively) will jump the farthest. They will then use that data to predict and investigate as to how far a fourth frog that is created using 180 mm sized paper is expected to jump. The discussion of their results should focus on the effects of size on the frog’s motion. To reinforce Performance Expectation 3-PS2-1, the question about what enables the frog’s motion needs to be posed, and the discussion focused on how the amount of force applied is still able to overcome the effects of size, resulting in varying degrees of motion.

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
Once the investigation with the fourth frog is concluded, the concept of variables could be introduced in the context of scientist meeting where the students might brainstorm the potential variables . A class list of variables could be generated and then teams of students could conduct their investigations.

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
Activities 1a - 1c develops student understanding of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of objects. Refer to the tips for the Performance Expectations for more detail. This Disciplinary Core Idea is more explicitly addressed if the discussion is not focused on Newton's Laws per se, but rather on the effects of forces on the motion of objects.

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This Disciplinary Core Idea is explicitly addressed when the data from the investigation of the first three frogs is used to predict the motion of the fourth frog. Please refer to Performance Expectation 3-PS2-2 for tips to address this core idea.

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
Students use the patterns in their data to make predictions about how far the fourth frog is expected to jump. There needs to be an explicit discussion about the part patterns plays in the investigation.

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
To fully address this Crosscutting Concept, the effects of various variables such as size, mass, amount of compression (cause) on the distance the frog jumps (effect) needs to be made explicit during all stages of the various investigations.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This resource provides grade-appropriate elements of the Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts that support students in making sense of how forces affect the motion of objects. In particular, it provides students with opportunities to plan and conduct their own investigations. As this resource was also created prior to the release of the CCSS for Mathematics, it appears aligned to the 3.MD.3 and 3.MD.4 math standards. If students choose to compare the different frogs’ performances based on its mass then 3.MD.2 might also be addressed. Finally, it should be noted that while this resource ask the student to average their data for each frog, the averaging of numbers is not addressed for Common Core until the sixth grade. It is therefore recommended that the students identify the median for each data set.

  • Instructional Supports: This resource engages students in multiple opportunities to make sense of how forces affect an object’s motion. It provides opportunities for students to express, represent, and interpret their ideas to support three-dimensional learning. It suggests the elimination of more difficult vocabulary for third graders. Lesson extensions include frog jumping competitions and the study of why frogs have different physical traits. These lesson extensions are recommended for students with high interest. Depending on how the study of traits is conducted, Performance Expectation 3-LS4-2 might also be addressed: Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing. It would enable the integration of Disciplinary Core Ideas within Grade 3.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This resource suggests the students be assessed for the ability to construct, test and compare the jump data, their ability to predict how the fourth frog would jump based on the data, and the ability of the students to identify and test variables that affected frog-jumping ability. While observations is the primary method recommended to collect assessment data, additional information could be easily be obtained from the written recordings of their investigations. A sample rubric is provided, but the teacher will need to add criteria for assessing the student’s ability to identify and test variables. The student’s response to the focus question at the conclusion of the investigation could serve as a summative assessment.

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