Understanding Force Through Tug of War: Day 2

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SWBAT understand that an object will move in the direction of the largest force.

Big Idea

Continuing from the previous day's lesson, the students will now participate in a few games of tug of war and apply concepts of force and motion into their learning and discovery.

Setting the Stage

1 minutes

NOTE:  This is a two day lesson.  


*Science Notebook,  *Large Tug of War Rope, *Science Notebooks, *Large Open Space (for game).

**In each science notebook, you should write in or type and paste in the question; How can we make the rope move?

**During today's Morning Meeting, I share, define, and discuss the terms Force and Gravity.  I find it necessary to use other parts of my day, to introduce terms, in order to get everything in.

The students will participate in a few games of Tug of War.  The observation of and participation in this game will act as the "backbone" for the post activity discussion.  The lesson will end with a twist on the game by having an adult pull on the middle of the rope (during a round) in a third direction.  

NOTE:  Our district in transitioning to the NGSS.  Although we are implementing some of the units this year, I am still required to teach units that have now been assigned to other grade levels. This unit is one of those units that has been affected by the shifts in grade levels.  I continue to teach this unit because it focuses on the National Science Standard (K-4) B.  "As students describe and manipulate objects by pushing or pulling, throwing, dropping, and rolling, they also begin to focus on the the position and movement of objects."  

It is also important that students learn that pushes and pulls can have different strengths and directions, and can change the speed or direction of its motion to start or sot it.  It is important that students understand that "the position and motion of an object can be changed by pushing or pulling.  The size of the change is related to the strength of the push or pull." Establishing this knowledge base will prepare them for 3rd grade when the NGSS requires them to apply concepts of force and motion into their learning (3-PS2).

Explore: Let the Games Begin

20 minutes

*Note, this Explore section continues from the previous day's lesson.  I suggest that you review that lesson before proceeding.  

I have the students return to the gym and review the scenarios that will be tested today (created in previous lesson).  The students then begin playing tug of war using the scenarios they created.  

I repeat this two more times.  After each round, I ask the students to record what happened in their notebook.  I encourage them to use words, pictures, and arrows to describe what happened.  

"I want you to record what happened and I want you to tell me why you thin it happened.  You can use the words I think ________ team won because_____."

Explain: The Force Is Strong

15 minutes

The students now gather in a circle with their notebooks for a science circle discussion.  

"We have just tested a few of our questions.  I would like you to choose one of the questions that we asked.  I want to talk about why one team won.  What caused the rope to move all the way to one side?"  

The idea that I want to get at is that the rope moved toward the side that was able to apply the most force.  I end the discussion with the idea that even when the rope was still on the ground, it still had force. It had gravity pushing down on it and the floor pushing up on it.  The forces were equal and that is why the rope was still.  

The stronger one force is on an object, the object will move toward that force.  An object moves when their are unbalanced forces.  I put these ideas into action on the next section of the lesson.

Elaborate: Pulling From the Middle

5 minutes

"I would like you to play one last game of Tug of War. I am going to replay one of the rounds.  Do you think the same team will win?  We will play the game the same way.  However, I am going to make one little change.  As the two teams are pulling, I am going to pick up the middle of the rope and pull it in a third direction.  Will this change the outcome?"

The students play the game.  When they are finished, they should record in their journals what actually happened and why.  This will serve as the exit ticket for the lesson.  I am looking for students to represent that the rope moved in the direction of the greater force.  

Evaluate: Explaining Their Learning

10 minutes

The students are creating testable questions and recording observations in their science notebooks. As I look through the science notebooks, I am looking at they types of questions students created and that testable questions were truly created.  I am also looking to see if students are able to express (through their notes and observations) that an object will always move toward the direction of the greatest force.