New! Design a Bobsled
3rd - 8th
Students apply their knowledge of friction, drag, mass and gravity as they design, build, and test mini-bobsleds.
Potential, kinetic, projectile, and motion; four words that are like music to a child's ears. Enthusiastic engineers discuss potential and kinetic energy, projectile motion, force, levers, and torque. Then, they play with several objects to observe how each of these things works, on their own and together. Finally, they apply their practice as they each construct a mini-catapult out of pop sticks, plastic forks, and rubber bands! While the lesson is really more of a set of neat activities, each is valuable in helping children describe the physical world of energy and motion.
Students explore friction. In this middle school science/mathematics lesson, students collect and analyze data as they investigate the role of frictional force on motion. Students examine their results to see when more force was needed to move the block and note the corresponding surface.
Students investigate the effects of materials on the friction between a "bobsled" and the track. They explore the effects of weight on the motion of the bobsled. Students design a bobsled for either fast or slow movement. They discuss the concept of static and kinetic friction.
What a Drag
Students learn examples of friction and drag, and suggest ways to reduce the impact of these forces. The equation that governs common frictional forces is introduced, and during a hands-on activity, students experimentally measure a coefficient of friction.
What a Drag!
Young scholars demonstrate how drag affects falling objects. They create a variety of shapes out of paper, conduct an experiment in which they observe how size, shape, and weight affects the speed with which their paper shapes fall, and record the results on a worksheet.
Straight Line Motion
Learners examine gravity, mass, and friction. In this speed and motion lesson, students investigate how straight line motion is impacted by gravity, mass, and fiction as they participate in a hands-on activity.
Race the Track! Design Challenge
Young scholars use the design process to investigate physical science. In this force and motion lesson plan, design a track to achieve a specified outcome. Students complete additional experiments with speed and distance. Young scholars recognize the resistance caused by friction.
Gravity: It's GREEEAAATTT!
Students calculate effects of gravitational force on planets, discuss the effects of weightlessness on the human body and describe and demonstrate how objects in a state of free fall are accelerated by gravity at an equal rate.
Marbles in Motion
Fourth graders explore how to play marbles while learning the scientific concepts of force, motion, mass, acceleration, friction, and inertia.
Energy and Work: Transformation Through Engines
Students conduct a webquest on an energy source they chose. In this physics lesson, students design an experiment to determine the factors affecting potential and kinetic energy. They calculate speed and create distance vs. time graphs.
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