What is Gravity?
Lesson 6 of 8
Objective: Students will be able to describe how gravity affects the motion of objects.
I will begin this lesson by presenting a ball to the class. I will ask my students, "what will happen if I drop this ball on the floor?" I will allow students to share their responses. This discussion will lead to me introducing the vocabulary word gravity. I will pose the question to the students, "what is gravity?" I will distribute the What is Gravity Resource Paper. I will instruct students to complete this worksheet with their thoughts and opinions on the definition of gravity. Students will share their responses with a partner and come to a consensus on what they believe gravity is.
Next, I will describe the definition of gravity to the students. I will explain that gravity is the force that pulls objects towards each other. I will ask students to share some common ideas that they had about gravity. Students will create a KWL chart in their science journal and complete the K (what they already know) about gravity.
I will arrange students into groups. I will show the students a variety of different objects such as a feather, a ball, a piece of paper, and a unifix cube. I will ask the students to predict how they think gravity will affect each object. I will instruct students to complete the W section of their KWL chart with questions beginning with what; for example, "what will happen if I drop the feather and the ball at the same time? What will happen when the objects hit the ground? Next, students will select one of their questions to investigate. I will remind students that they have to choose a testable question to investigate. I will also remind students that testable questions often resemble the format, "How does _______ effect ______?" This may require students to change their questions in their W column. I will circulate the room to assist students in generating testable questions to make sure that each group has a question that they can answer within their exploration. The purpose of students generating a testable question is to allow students the opportunity to conduct an experiment within the classroom that they can observe and gather data to answer. It is important for students to know that scientist conduct experiments to discover answers to unknown questions. As a scientist, we must be able to test our question to collect data and determine results.
Next, I will provide each group with the materials I displayed for them to test their question. Students will conduct their experiments and record their observations in the L column of the KWL chart (what they have learned). As students work, I will work with students to ensure that they are recording the motion of each object and how gravity is affecting it.
We will end the lesson by coming together as a whole group and reviewing our observations. I will ask groups to review their findings. We will discuss how gravity affects the motion of each object. We will reflect on our experiment to determine if any original thoughts of gravity have changed. We will also reflect on any new ideas that we discovered. To conclude the lesson, we will review the definition of gravity again. I will remind students that gravity is a force that that attracts objects or particles together. Earth has a constant gravitational pull that pulls objects toward it. I will also explain that because Earth has such a large mass, it is easy to see gravity's effect on objects.