Experimenting with Force
Students will design an experiment that tests the effect of force on an object.
The student knows that energy occurs in many forms and can be observed in cycles, patterns, and systems.
Galileo Drops the Ball: Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development (website) - What would drop faster, a feather or a cannonball? How about a large cannonball versus a small one? Use this fun, interactive website to simulate the test. You even can switch from Normal to Vacuum Mode, to run the test where there is no air.
The Meaning of Force: The Physics Classroom (website) - Detailed background information about the meaning of force in the study of physics, with links to further content about different kinds of forces and more.
Force: Hyperphysics (website) - Succinct explanation of force, the interaction of all forces, and causes of motion, with links to additional information.
Rockets, Force and Motion: BioEd Online (video) - Preview video before teaching the lesson. Explore Newton’s laws of motion, using rockets as an example.
Pop! Rocket Launcher: NASA Rockets Educator Guide (PDF) - Students stomp on an empty two-liter soft drink bottle to force air through connected plastic pipes and propel a paper rocket into the sky (pp. 63-71). After the investigation, lead a class discussion about all the forces involved in launching the rockets, and make sure your students understand how such forces affect the rocket’s behavior.
- Supporting Lessons
- Assessment Ideas
- Literature Connections
- Additional Resources
Hero’s Engine, Force and Motion: BioEd Online (video) - Preview video before teaching the lesson. Construct a simple device to demonstrate the laws of force and motion.
Hero’s Engine: NASA Rockets Educator Guide (pdf) - Students construct water-propelled engines from soft drink cans and investigate ways to increase the action/reaction thrust produced by water shooting out of holes punched in the can sides.
Motion, Forces, Energy & Electricity: Discovery Education (website) - Student groups build catapults from everyday materials and explore force and motion by using the catapults to launch marshmallows. Could serve as a culminating activity after studying force and motion.
Elaboration Lessons and Extensions
Rules of Forces and Motion: Discovery Education (website) - Students experiment with the effects of mass and friction on speed and motion.
Falling for Gravity: Science NetLinks (website) – Students will observe different objects fall from the same height to see if they reach the ground at the same time. They will also roll marbles of different sizes down an inclined plane to see if they reach the bottom at the same time.
The Marble and the Ramp: K8 Science (PDF) - Students investigate the relationship between gravity, force and motion, and learn about gravitational potential energy.
Forces: Discovery Education (website) - Students build a simulated luge track to investigate friction, wind resistance, slope, force and gravity. Before starting the activity, students should discuss the variables to be considered, including force and friction.
Force and Motion: Science Concepts, Second Series. Silverstein, A. (ISBN-13: 978-0822575146)
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)
The Constant Pull of Gravity - How Does It Work? NASA (website) - Video illustrates the critical role that gravity plays in many aspects of everyday life.
Mechanical Energy: Kids & Energy: 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.