All New-Tons Of Fun Lab Stations: Day 4
Lesson 4 of 6
Objective: The student will be able to apply Newton's Laws, when building Newton's cars and then apply it all to balloon rockets.
This lesson represents the fourth of a unit focusing on scientific and engineering literacy in the context of Newton's Laws. This lesson builds off of protocols that students learned in the Day 1, Day 2. and Day 3 lessons. The previous lessons set the protocols for the activities here. In this lesson, students apply discussion protocols and work on writing a scientific explanation. To complete this lesson in its entirety, including the writing of the scientific paragraph and closure, this lesson may take 1.5 class periods.
This lesson is designed to address the following NGSS and Common Core Standards:
MS-PS2-1 Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.
MS-PS2-2 Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.1.B Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Asking Questions Students at any grade level should be able to ask questions of each other about the texts they read, the features of the phenomena they observe, and the conclusions they draw from their models or scientific investigations.
Developing and Using Models Students should be able to develop and/or use a model to predict and/or describe phenomena.
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including the students’ own experiments) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
Engaging in Argument from Evidence Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon or a solution to a problem.
Systems and System Models: A system is an organized group of related objects or components; models can be used for understanding and predicting the behavior of systems.
Energy and Matter The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system.
*While this lesson deals with students creating models, the discussion in this lesson ask students to connect to all of the CCC's.
I begin every class by asking the students "What are you going to learn today?" Students respond by referring to the Essential Question, "How can I demonstrate science and engineering literacy?" This EQ is included on their Unit Plan and on the front board.
I explain to the students that this lesson builds off of the Day 1 , Day 2, Day 3 lessons and will help us gather knowledge that we will use in the end of the unit to design bottle rockets. In the previous lesson, students used models to engage in group discussions. The discussion protocols taught in that lesson will continue in this lesson. In addition, students followed a lab protocol in which they generated a testable question and brainstormed variables that would need to be held constant to produce reliable data if they were to design an experiment to test their question. I let students know that in this lesson will complete one demonstration following the discussion protocols and one lab station following the lab protocol.
As the previous lessons helped students to work on discussion techniques, thinking beyond the text, writing scientific explanations based on evidence and in connecting to the NGSS Crosscutting Concepts, I ask students to reevaluate their self assessments on the skills included in the unit plan. Students rank themselves on each of the skills included in the Unit Plan. Students rank themselves on a scale of 1 to 4 (4 being mastery). Students will continue to update these scores over the course of the unit. I emphasize to them that it is ok not to be at a "4". Learning is about growth! We will use this starting point to track the growth in their learning.
Notice in the student work below, that the student updates his scores over the course of the unit as he grows in his level of mastery.
Have students turn to their All New-Tons of Fun Lab Document (Get it? All New-Tons (Newtons) of Fun Labs?) and explain to the students that they will be going through some demonstrations that can model to Newton's Laws. Following each demonstration, I explain that students will go through one demonstration and complete the discussion protocols that we practiced in the previous lessons. Have students complete the "Newton's Cars" procedure.
1. Put on a pair of goggles.
2. Look at the demonstration set up that Mrs. Roehm has set up. The weight must be launched in the direction designated by Mrs. Roehm!
3. Use the materials provided to create a variety of models that could represent Newton’s Laws.
**The procedure is not very detailed because I find that it is important to show the whole group how to set up a Newton Car and to emphasize important safety precautions.
Making Newton's Cars is easy! Place 3 screws in a triangle in a block of wood. For the dowels, you can simply purchase any size dowels and cut them into sections at least as wide the width of your block of wood. The great thing about them is that after the initial investment into making them, they last for years and years. I have been using mine for a decade!
The Set Up: Here is a video explaining how to set up a Newton Car.
1. Goggles must be worn at all times no matter where in the classroom you are! Fire and flying objects mean we have to protect our eyes!
2. Set up "runways" in your room and designate a direction the car will travel and weight will fly. Have the students aim the weight to fly in the direction that students are least likely to walk behind. Make it clear which direction(s) the weights will be flying so that students can avoid walking in that path.
3. I have never had any safety "close calls" with the weights or cars. The thing I have had happen is this: The student that lights the match is so interested in watching the car that they forget they are holding a match and the match burns down towards their fingers. Emphasize to have a cup of water near the match lighter to immediately place the match in the water.
After completing the demonstration, the students follow the discussion protocol as it relates to the Newton Cars.
Follow these steps when answering the discussion questions. After each step, any student can add to or reflect on the comments that were made.
- Student cites text to explain the law. (“The text states that….”) (I have included the text my students use in the resource section; however, you could use any text that includes Newton's Laws.)
- Student summarizes what was cited in the text. (“In other words, Newton’s ___ law means….”)
- Student discusses how the law connects to this specific model using the vocabulary from the law. (“This model connects to Newton’s ____ law because….”)
- Student explains how this concept can be seen in a real world scenario. (“This is similar to……” or “I have seen this in the real world when……”)
Discussion Questions: You will answer the same discussion questions for each demonstration.
- How can this demonstration represent a model of Newton’s 1st law?
- How can this demonstration represent a model of Newton’s 2nd law?
- How can this demonstration represent a model of Newton’s 3rd law?
Students follow the protocol for each of the three discussion questions. Below are two videos of my students following the protocol for this demonstration. As this is the fourth day that they have practiced this protocol, conversations are running smooth and you will see that students begin to naturally jump in with each step of the protocol.
Newton's 2nd Law
Newton's 3rd Law
Students then complete the second of the protocols, the "Crosscutting Concept Discussion Protocol" in the same manner.
Crosscutting Concepts Discussion Protocol:
- Choose 2 Crosscutting Concepts per model/demonstration. Vary the concepts you choose so that all concepts are addressed at some point during the demonstrations.
- Locate the first Crosscutting Concept in the text.
- Assign a time keeper. Take 30 seconds of silent think time to find connections between the model and the current Crosscutting Concept (time keeper use device to time). These could be connections, explanations or questions you generate based on the Crosscutting Concept and the demonstration.
- One student shares connection/question.
- Another student summarizes what the first student shared. (“What I hear you saying is……”.) The student that shared confirms that their idea was summarized accurately.
- A different student connects the idea to the text. (“This example connects to this concept because…(points to and reads from text)….”)
- Other students share their connections with the group.
- Group writes at least one connection/question that was shared on a sticky note and adds it to the appropriate Crosscutting Concept poster.
Below are two videos of a students following the protocol. Here are some things to note that you might see with your students as well:
1. First, I started filming part way through the 30 second wait time (The student in this video gets very excited that he stops his phone timer on exactly 30 seconds.). Students will try to skip wait time, but it is so important. If all students are going to have an opportunity to share and participate, they need the time to think and process.
2. Summarizing is an important skill. In this video you will see two students summarize. The first actually "interprets" what the student shared while the second student summarizes. By "interprets", I mean that he actually just shares his own idea. What I have found that students who are paraphrasing tend to do is simply say their own idea. Emphasize that the "summarizer" is not giving their own idea, they are simply restating what the other student shared. That is not to say that they can't add their own thoughts. After they have paraphrased what the other student says they could add, "Do you also think that..." or "I think a different way to connect to the concept is....".
After the student summarizes, the student who is "being summarized" should confirm if the "summarizer" accurately described the connection. I found that students will just nod their head "yes" even if the "summarizer" did not paraphrase/summarize correctly. You will see this happen after the first student summarizes in this video. Students that are "being summarized" need practice at being able to say, "Actually, what I was saying was...." or "You've got part of what I was saying. It was also important that I said....".
3. It is important to emphasize to students that they must use different Crosscutting Concepts than they did in the previous lesson. This way, students will have to connect to all of the concepts by the end of this lab series. Without this requirement, students find a comfort zone and repeat their favorite crosscutting concept over and over. For example, if students did not have to choose a different CCC with each station, you would end up with a poster filled with "Cause and Effect" ideas but no "Stability and Change" connections.
This video is only a portion of the protocol. I include it to show how on this fourth day students have become very comfortable with the language in the CCC text. During the first lesson, students hesitantly share ideas and it takes following through with the protocol to find exactly what the connect to the text might be. By this lesson, the student says, "It was one small change, but it would affect one large part of the system". He is connecting to the text in his initial sharing of his idea.
I also feel it is important to explain that the word "fail" in my classroom has a completely different meaning. In my classroom, we celebrate our failures; they are not to be feared! In fact, we say that they are "epic". I call them "Epic F.A.I.Ls", or epic First Attempts In Learning. Scientists and engineers use processes that rely on constant evaluation and learning. Mistakes are a part of growth - a part of the path to the solution. So, when this student says, "the time we failed", he is really saying "the time we learned something that led us to the solution."
Following the discussion protocol, students write their Crosscutting Connections on a sticky note and place it on the appropriate poster in my classroom:
Students connect to more Crosscutting Concepts than I show below. I just wanted to give you a few examples for some insight into the ideas students can generate.
Stability and Change:
This student is connecting to the text that states, "Small changes in one part of a system might cause large changes in another part. "Systems in dynamic equilibrium are stable due to a balance of feedback mechanisms."
Scale, Proportion, and Quantity:
Students here are connecting to the idea that, "The observed function of natural and designed systems may change with scale."
Cause and Effect:
Newton's 3rd Law provides a great opportunity to connect to cause and effect!
Structure and Function:
The unwrapped middle school CCC's state that "The way an object is shaped or structured determines many of its properties and functions."
Systems and System Models:
The students are connecting to the text that states "A system is an organized group of related objects or components; models can be used for understanding and predicting the behavior of systems."
After practicing the discussion protocols independently for Newton's Cars, explain to the students that they will be completing the Balloon Rocket Lab. The protocol for this lab will be different than the previous demonstrations, instead this lab will be focused on generating a testable question/identifying constants and constructing a written explanation, just as they did in the previous lesson.
Review the protocol with them. One key to this protocol is that students must generate a question that includes both an independent and dependent variable. For example, students could not simply write, "How does mass affect it?". This type of sentence is missing a measurable dependent variable. I explain to the students that they will generate this question that they could design an experiment to test based on the idea of the Marble Flip. After generating the question, I explain that they need to generate a list of constants that would be required in order to collect reliable data. They create this question and list on a sticky note and place it on my board labeled, "Generating Questions and Identifying Constraints/Constants".
- Read and follow the lab procedure.
- Generate a question you could design an experiment about that includes both an independent and dependent variable.
- Brainstorm as many variables as you can that will need to be held constant in order to produce reliable data if you were to design an experiment based on your question.
- Write your question and the constants that you brainstormed on a large sticky note and add it to the designated board. (Be sure to add your names on the back of the sticky note.)
- Answer written response question(s).
Students follow the procedure to complete the Balloon Rockets Lab.
1. You will notice a fishing line hanging from the ceiling.
2. First, blow up a balloon using 3 big breaths. Hold the balloon closed so no air escapes.
3. Have another member of your group tape a Dixie cup to the top of the balloon.
4. Tape a straw to the side of your balloon. Make sure it runs up and down the longest part of your balloon. LOOK AT THE PICTURE ABOVE TO HELP YOU CONSTRUCT IT!
5. Place 1 paper clip in the cup.
6. Thread the straw through the fishing line and hold the fishing line tight.
7. Release the balloon!
8. Repeat steps 2 through 7, placing 2 paper clips in the cup.
9. Repeat steps 2 through 7, placing 0 paper clips in the cup.
After creating multiple matchbook rockets, students generate a testable question and brainstorm a list of variables they would have to keep constant to produce reliable data. Below, the student asks, "How does the amount of air in the balloon affect the acceleration of the rocket?" Notice that this group goes one step further and clearly describes the independent and independent variables in their question.
I have found that the key to students being able to design their own experiments is being able to construct a testable question and then isolating one variable. Having an awareness of all of the variables that must be held constant is the first step to being able to develop a procedure that can produce reliable data. This student definitely shows mastery with this skill. With all of these identified constants, they have isolated their independent variable to the point that they could collect accurate data.
After completing the Balloon Rocket Lab, students must construct a diagram and a written explanation.
First, students draw a diagram explaining how the balloon rocket was able to launch.
The student here ties the matchbook rocket launching to Newton's 3rd Law. Notice that they include a title, labels, and a caption. In addition, their caption clearly ties the vocabulary from Newton's 3rd law (equal and opposite reaction) to the rocket.
In my class, we use the format "ABCDE" for claims-reasoning-evidence statement writing. Below I include a description of each part as well as a connection to the student work shown below.
A - Assertion: Make a claim. ("The balloon rocket that weighs 10g will increase in acceleration.")
B - Background: Provide the reader with background they will need to understand the arguments you are going to present. ("In the lab, students created balloon rockets with varying masses.")
C - Citation: Cite text and data as evidence to support your claim. ("Figure A shows that a balloon with no cup which weighed 10 g took 1.08 seconds to reach the ceiling while a balloon with a cup which weighs 15 grams took 1.93 seconds to reach the ceiling. This is an example of "Newton's 2nd Law, " the acceleration of an object increases with increased force and decreases with increased mass".")
D - Discussion: Explain how your citations support your claim. ("So, because the cup added mass to the balloon, the acceleration of the object decreased. While without a cup, the acceleration increased causing the balloon to rise to the ceiling faster.")
E - End: Conclusion sentence. ("In conclusion, the balloon rocket that weighed only 10 grams reached the ceiling faster than the balloon rocket that weighed 15 grams.")
For more detailed information about ABCDE paragraphs, check out the Quick Guide to the ABCDE Paragraph in the resource bin.
Have students that struggle with organizing a paragraph even with the ABCDE format? I have included an adapted version that I have created for students like this. I use it as a scaffold. Students use this "shell" until they grasp the pattern of the ABCDE paragraph, then they can write paragraphs on their own as they progress. The purpose of this is to build their understanding of how to organize a paragraph, not to make this a "fill in the blank" sheet. As students use the adapted version, meet/conference with them and help them connect to how the "shell" connects to the ABCDE paragraph. After practice, students can remove this scaffold and write the paragraphs on their own!
To end this lesson, I ask students to review the criteria they developed for effective use of data in the second lesson of this unit. Then, students use this criteria to evaluate and edit their own work.
Below is the criteria the students developed: