What Makes it Move?

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Students will be able to participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about topics and texts with peers and adults in large and small group settings.

Big Idea

Discussing push and pull actions helps students understand how we use force to accomplish everyday tasks.


10 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I tell the students that we are going to watch a short video from the Scholastic Let’s Find Out webpage. The video clip is called Make it Move! You can find it in the archive under January 2014. I have this resource already loaded on my SMARTBoard so I do not waste any instructional time.

This website is a paid subscription site and it has many valuable little resources on it. I like the site because of the interactive reading feature, the short videos supports the reading and the games relate to the overall lesson. There are also printable worksheets to go along with the magazine but I seldom use these. Some of them I might save for review when I have a substitute teacher in the classroom.   

When the two and a half minute video is over I ask the students, “Who can tell me one new word they heard in the video?”

I select enough students to cover the words the video went over. Words such as: position, motion, force, push and pull.

“Nice work recalling the word meanings from the video; you used your good audience skills well.”


I use this short video clip to prepare my students with the vocabulary and background knowledge they will need when they listen to the book as part of our focus lesson. 


45 minutes

“Today’s book is called Forces Make Things Move, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and illustrated by Paul Meisel.”

“This book is going to show you how forces make things move. We use a lot of different forces throughout the day. I would like you to keep this fact in your mind; a push moves things away from you and a pull moves things closer to you.”


During the reading of this book we discuss new vocabulary words such as; reactions, inertia, friction, etc. We review old familiar vocabulary words such as; gravity, push, pulls, etc.   


After reading I tell the students, “Today at one of the integrated work stations we are going to be coming up with and discussing some of the forces you use every day in your life.”

“Once we have discussed as many forces as we can think of, it will be your job to record our discussion on your recording sheet (I hold a sample up for the students to see).”

Push and Pull Recording Sheet

“You will need to decide which force is a push or a pull. You will draw a quick little illustration and then label the picture as best you can; using the strategies you know and resources available to you.”  

“As usual I will be using a checklist to see if you followed the directions you were given. Can someone please tell me one of the directions I just gave you?”

I select enough students to respond to the question until all of the given directions are covered.

“Great it sounds like my class was listening well to the directions.”

“Does anyone have any questions?”


Once I feel the group has a good grasp of the instructions I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;

“Table number one go have some push/pull fun.

Table number two, you know what to do.

Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and

Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”


Allow the students 15 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely.



When students are collaborating successfully, they are working together as a group to produce something. The ability to work collaboratively is essential when students have to work on group projects in the upper grades and also when they enter the work force. Effective collaborators listen to others ideas as well as eloquently share their own. When students listen to others they gain insight into another perspective on how to solve a problem or a different point of view on a given topic. The same came be said when students are able to eloquently share their ideas and points of view.   


10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look, listen” technique mentioned above.

“When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time.

Discussing student work.

Student sample 1.          Student sample 2.          Student sample 3.          Student sample 4.

Student sample 5.


Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me one way they use a force in their life.

“Today your exit ticket is to tell me one force you use in your life. It can be a push or a pull. I am going to go first today to model how I would like you to answer.”

I pretend to pull my name out of the fair stick container.

“One force I use is to pull on my socks when I get dressed.”

“Do you see how I told you what the force was and how I used it?”

“Okay good. Here we go.”

I use the fair sticks to select the order in which the students get to go.

If a student has difficulty deciding how they use a force in their life, they can do one of two things. They can:

  1. Ask a friend to help, or
  2. They can pass and wait until everyone is gone and we will work on figuring it out together.


Using this very quick and easy exit ticket method everyday gets the students into a routine and they know what to expect as a continuation of their learning. The exit ticket gives me a quick glimpse of how a student is doing when they either fluently give me a response or if they struggle I know I may need to do each support work with that particular student. The exit ticket also supports the lesson we have just completed and ties it up before moving on with the rest of our day.  


I use the Push and Pull Checklist to go over the student’s work and once it is complete I will place the student’s work in his/her collection portfolio.

Looking at the student’s work with the checklist helps me to stay focused on the point that I am looking to see if a student was able to recognize actions in their day involving a force – push or pull. I check to see if the student was able to draw a simple picture to reflect the conversation. Did the student attempt to label the items, and if so what resources did they use to label it? I also make comment on how neat and tidy the work is.

The checklist helps me because the work sample provides me with evidence of students learning as to whether the student met the objectives or not. The checklist helps to convey information to the student’s family as to how well they are doing in class, and finally it helps the student by letting him/her know how he/she did and if there are areas where he/she could improve. 


Tying in math, students work with a teacher trying to get different 3D shapes to move. First they predict what kind of force it will take to make the shape move – a push or a pull, small push or pull, big push or pull? They test their prediction with their peers and record the results in their science journal.


We take part in a group activity using the SMARTBoard to listen and read our Push! Pull! How Do You Go in the Snow? magazine from Scholastic Let’s Find Out. There is also a sorting game involving items you push or pull. I use the fair sticks to select students to take part in the game. This activity reinforces what we discussed in the morning.