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Experimenting with Force

Experimenting with Force

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to design an experiment to test the effect of force on an object such as a push or a pull, gravity, friction, or magnetism.

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Essential Understanding

The student knows that energy exists in many forms and can be observed in cycles, patterns, and systems.

Science Background

Rockets, Force and Motion: K8 Science (video) – Dr. Greg Vogt uses examples from rockets to demonstrate the laws of motion.

Rockets, Force and Motion
by Greg Vogt, K8 Science, www.k8science.org

Newton’s Laws: The Physics Classroom (website) - Everything you might want to know about force and motion.

Newton’s Laws
The Physics Classroom, www.physicsclassroom.com

Force Affects Motion: School for Champions (website) - Helpful explanation of how force affects motion, including references to “push,” “pull,” “gravity,” “friction,” and “magnetism.”

Force Affects Motion
School for Champions, www.school-for-champions.com

Signature Lesson

Rocket Races: K8 Science/NASA (PDF) – Students use Styrofoam trays to build racecars powered by the thrust of an inflated balloon. The lesson’s stated objective is to investigate Newton’s Third Law, but it fits also TEKS 4.6D perfectly: students will design an experiment to test the effects of force on their racecars. Discuss these effects and the type(s) of forces involved. Repeat the experiment on different surfaces.Students build race-cars using Styrofoam trays and powered by the thrust of an inflated balloon.

Rocket Races - Related Video
by Greg Vogt, K8 Science, www.k8science.org

Rocket Races - Download the Activity
NASA, www.nasa.gov

 

Supporting Lessons

Pop Can Hero Engine: BioEd Online, NASA Rockets Educator Guide  (PDF) - Students make a Hero engine from a soda can and then cause the “engine” to rotate with the forces of action and reaction produced by falling water. The lesson’s stated objective is to investigate Newton’s Third Law, but it also is very well aligned with TEKS 4.6D. Lead a class discussion about the forces that make the can rotate. Students make a Hero engine from a pop can and then cause the “engine” to rotate with the forces of action and reaction produced by falling water.

Pop Can Hero Engine - Related Video
by Greg Vogt, BioEd Online, www.bioedonline.org

Pop Can Hero Engine - Download the Activity
NASA Rockets Educator Guide, www.nasa.gov

How Strong is Your Magnet? Science NetLinks (website) - Students explore magnets, measure the strength of a magnet’s force upon an object as distance changes, and are introduced to the concept that some forces on Earth cannot be seen.

How Strong is Your Magnet?
Science NetLinks, sciencenetlinks.com

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Energy at Play: The Tech Museum (PDF) - In this activity focused on the transformation and transference of energy, students build machines that use mechanical energy to accomplish various tasks.

Energy at Play
The Tech Museum, www.thetech.org

Spoonapult: The Tech Museum (PDF) - Students construct a small catapult from craft sticks, rubber bands and a plastic spoon to explore forces and motion.

Spoonapult
The Tech Museum, www.thetech.org

Assessment Ideas

Bring several toys to class (e.g., parachute, spinning top, party blower, car without wheels, catapult, etc.). Have students identify the forces acting on each toy and make drawings that label those forces.

Literature Connections

The Ocean of Truth: The Story of Sir Isaac Newton. McPherson, J. (ISBN-13: 978-1882514502)

Rocket Boys. Hickam, H. (ISBN-13: 978-0385333214)

A Crash Course in Forces and Motion with Max Axiom, Super Scientist. Sohn, Emily (ISBN-13: 978-0736868372)

Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion. Gianopoulo, Andrea (ISBN-13: 978-0736868471)

Related Science TEKS

(4.4A) Tools for Collecting and Analyzing Information
The student is expected to collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including calculators, microscopes, cameras, computers, hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, mirrors, spring scales, pan balances, triple beam balances, graduated cylinders, beakers, hot plates, meter sticks, compasses, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and stopwatches; and materials to support observation of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

Related Math TEKS

4.14D  The student is expected to use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

4.16B   The student is expected to justify why an answer is reasonable and explain the solution process.

Additional Resources

Mechanical Energy: Kids & Energy (website) - Mechanical energy explained in a fun, kid-friendly way.

Mechanical Energy
Kids & Energy, www.kids.esdb.bg

Roller Coaster Builder: FOSS (website) - Interactive site on which students “build” roller coasters and test them by experimenting to see how far a ball will roll.

Roller Coaster Builder
FOSS, fossweb.com

Forces: Slide Share (website) - Interactive slide show that uses interesting photographs to teach students about forces.

Forces
Slide Share, www.slideshare.net

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