Experimenting with Force
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.
The student knows that energy exists in many forms and can be observed in cycles, patterns, and systems.
Rockets, Force and Motion: K8 Science (video) – Dr. Greg Vogt uses examples from rockets to demonstrate the laws of motion.
Newton’s Laws: The Physics Classroom (website) - Everything you might want to know about force and motion.
Force Affects Motion: School for Champions (website) - Helpful explanation of how force affects motion, including references to “push,” “pull,” “gravity,” “friction,” and “magnetism.”
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.
- Supporting Lessons
- Assessment Ideas
- Literature Connections
- Additional Resources
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.
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.
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.
Spoonapult: The Tech Museum (PDF) - Students construct a small catapult from craft sticks, rubber bands and a plastic spoon to explore forces and motion.
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.
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)
Mechanical Energy: Kids & Energy (website) - Mechanical energy explained in a fun, kid-friendly way.
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.
Forces: Slide Share (website) - Interactive slide show that uses interesting photographs to teach students about forces.