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Students will observe motion with different objects by participating in a series of investigations.

Big Idea

Students cause a commotion around the classroom learning about motion in centers!


15 minutes

Students are asked to sit on the meeting place rug to begin a new lesson on motion. 

I start the lesson by reviewing with students what motion means. I write down students' responses and ideas on chart paper and I remind them of the definition of motion: when an object or person moves from one place to another.

I explain to students that they are going to be scientists and study the motion of different objects today. 

There are 5 different centers set up around the room. Each one is labeled with a number. The number will be needed to make sure students start at the correct center but also to use in labeling their science journals with the correct number to correspond to the activity.

I say to students, "You will be going to 5 different centers. At each center, there is a job card that tells you what you need to do with the items at that center. You will complete the job and then, you can take a few minutes to write in your journal about what you observed. When you write about a center, you will need to put the number of what center you are at first."

At this time, I go to one of the centers and actually model for them the entire process. This helps my visual learners know what to do. It helps all of my students understand my expectations for them at each center.

I have the groups of students already broken up so that I do not waste time. When I make groups of students for centers, I try to make groups that I know will work well together.


Independent Work Time (Centers)

60 minutes

Students are directed to go to the first center. I call out the names and send them to their first center. I explain that I will set the egg timer for 10 minutes. 

I say, "When the timer rings, you are to stop what you are doing, clean up your center area to look just as you have found it and you will rotate clockwise. Follow the black arrows." I have arrows up around the room so that students know which way to go next.

Students work at their centers completing the job cards and writing their observations in their science journals. 

I am available for questions or help and I walk around to monitor their work.

The centers are:

#1 - Two tennis balls

Students are asked to roll a ball across the floor and to roll both balls toward each other so that they hit one another and write down their observations of each.

#2 - Styrofoam ball and a large metal marble

Students are asked to roll each of these down a ramp and write down their observations of each.

#3 - A toy top (wooden)

Students are asked to spin the top on the table and on the carpeted floor. They are then asked to spin the top on the table so that is never stops spinning. Then to write their observations down for each.

#4 - A large bouncy ball

Students are asked to hold the ball as high up as possible and drop it on the ground (tile floor is best) and to hold it low to the ground and drop it on the ground. Then write their observations of each.

#5 - Windmills

Students are asked to blow on a toy windmill with a steady continuous flow of air and to blow again with one, quick burst of air and record their observations of each.


20 minutes

To close this lesson, students are asked to sit down at their seats. I use turn taking sticks to call on several students to share out what they observed from the centers. Because there are plenty of different activities and centers, I call on all students to share. Turn taking sticks help to eliminate bias and make sure all my students have a turn to share their experience during centers.

This activity opens up great dialogue from students about what they are seeing and able to connect back to the definition of motion. I take this opportunity to address questions that came up during the investigation for students.