Just For Kicks

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.



After completing this activity, students should be able to explain the strengths of forces created when pushing an object using different methods (kicking or pushing with their arms and hands). They may share strategies on controlling the direction of a moving object and the ability to strike a target. They may describe how an object changes direction when colliding with another object.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
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
Students will investigate using a kick ball or rubber ball and target to observe the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes. Targets should be created for kindergartners instead of having the students make them.

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
Students are observing what happens when the ball is pushed by rolling, throwing or kicking it. They should keep a data sheet (created by the teacher) by drawing what happens when each student in the group tests the balls to help construct an evidence-based account of the phenomena.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students are working collaboratively to do the investigation with the ball and target to learn about pushes having different strengths and how those pushes may effect the direction the ball travels. Some of the vocabulary listed (velocity, impact, colliding) will need to be explained or put in user friendly terms for kindergartners. When students are asked to give their ideas about force and motion the teacher should write the responses on chart paper. Students may write and make illustrations in a science journal to document their learning.

Crosscutting Concepts

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

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students are gathering evidence to support or refute their ideas about why the ball has different strengths when pushed in three different ways. Data should be recorded and shared in class.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The focus of the lesson is to support students in making sense of phenomena of force and motion. Student senseā€making does integrate the elements of the Science and Engineering Practices (conducting an investigation), Crosscutting Concepts (the cause and effect of pushing a ball), and Disciplinary Core Idea (comparing the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes on the motion of an object).

  • Instructional Supports: The lesson provides opportunities for students to express, justify, and interpret their ideas and to respond to peer and teacher feedback orally. Students experience phenomena first hand by investigating with the balls. Having students brainstorm other ways of moving the ball could enhance the lesson.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: There is a lot of questioning by the teacher during the investigation. Adding a data sheet and/or a science journal to the activity would improve the lesson.Teachers could then use that information to assess student understanding of forces and motion..

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: No technology is needed for this lesson.