I Broke My Pogo Stick!

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Using their knowledge of pole attraction, SWBAT design a spring, using magnets, to replace the broken spring inside my pogo stick.

Big Idea

Today your students will help you fix your pogo stick by developing a magnetic spring to replace the broken one inside the pogo stick.

Setting the Stage

1 minutes

Advanced Preparation:   spindles, disc magnets, science notebooks

This activity will allow the students to test their knowledge of magnetic poles and how they attract or repel as they solve a given problem.  They will work in groups of two to create a magnetic spring to fix a broken pogo stick.  Through exploration and design, the students will build the spring and then record their design in their science notebook.    

NOTE:  Our district is 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 meets the following Vermont State Standards:

S1-2:2  Students demonstrate their understanding of predicting and hypothesizing

S1-2:3  Students demonstrate their understanding of experimental design

S1-2:4  Students demonstrate their ability to conduct experiments

S1-2:6  Students demonstrate their ability to analyze data

This investigation also addresses the NSES expectation of students understanding that magnets attract certain types of materials.  

I want students to gain a sound and working understanding of the scientific method.  Although this unit will bring in magnetic concepts, the "major focus" continues to be developing learners to think like scientists through experimental learning.


10 minutes

The students start by gathering on the carpet and facing the Smart board.  I start the lesson by showing the students this video.

"I want to start today's lesson by watching a video.  You will see some kids using a pogo stick and doing some interesting jumps with it."

I am using this video to make sure that each kid knows what a pogo stick is.  The action in the video will naturally draw the students in.

"I need your help.  I have been practicing with my pogo stick and have broken the spring inside.  If you take a look at this photo you can see what the inside of a pogo stick looks like.  I have broken the big spring in my pogo stick.  The way you can help is to find a way that you can use a spindle and some disc magnets to create a new spring."



20 minutes

I have the students set up their science notebooks for today's entry.  The anchor chart is available for all of them to use as they set up.

"Before you start designing the spring, I want you to set up your science notebook for today's entry.  Remember to use the anchor chart to make sure you set it up the correct way.  I will be using the Science Journal Scoring Rubric to grade your entry."

I remind them that I am scoring their entries because we have been using this rubric and talking about the quality of work that is expected.  

"Once you have your notebook set up, I would like you to partner up and find a spot to work.  You can then grab one spindle and 5 disc magnets for your team.  Then you can start on your task.  Once you have created a spring, you will need to record your design in your notebook and explain why it works."

As students are working, I circulate to listen to the conversations that teams are having and the ideas that are being generated (clips 1 and 2).  I am looking for students to connect their understanding of magnetic poles and their attraction/repelling to this task.


10 minutes

I gather the students together for a discussion about what they learned and designed.  

"I would like you to clean up your materials and then meet me on the carpet with your science notebooks.  You should sit with the partner that you worked with."

"I would like you to team up with another team and share your designs with each other.  I would like you to compare who they were similar and/or who they were different."

I give them a few minutes to do this and then finish with a whole group conversation.

"Who would like to talk about their design and how it was the same or different from the other design that was shared with you?  Why do the designs create a spring?"


5 minutes

"I would like you to look in your science notebook at the diagram that you drew.  I would like you to label the poles of the magnets in your diagram.  I want you to use the words north or south to show the poles of each magnet." 

I am asking the students to do this because I want to reinforce the idea that magnets will repel when the poles are the same and attract when they are opposite.

"When you are finished, I would like you to get a Science Journal Scoring Rubric and grade your entry for today."


1 minutes

I use the science journal scoring rubric to assess each entry.  I am looking for evidence that they created a design that worked, they were clear with their work, and they were able to label the poles accurately.