What is Force?

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SWBAT recognize force as a push or pull.

Big Idea

Junior scientists discover that they apply force in their everyday life.

Setting the Stage

National Science Education Standards

Position and Motion of Objects

This lesson addresses how position or motion of an object can be changed by pushing or pulling. In this lesson, students learn that a push or pull can be used to move various objects. Some items can be moved by both a push and a pull. This lesson is imperative because students use pushes or pulls to move objects. The activity helps students understand that force is used in their everyday lives. In Tennessee, students learn about force and motion.

Science Practice

SP 8 addresses obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K–2. Students communicate information with others in oral and written form to discuss scientific ideas.  In this lesson, groups communicate with each other about force.  They collaborate in pairs to discuss which items can be moved in the room through the use of force.

Junior Scientists:

In my class, my students are called Junior Scientists. They wear lab jackets they created early in the school year to be worn during experiments. I call them junior scientists to encourage them to major in Science and Math related careers. I want them to develop a love for Science and Math. Also, we sing "It Is Science Time" or "I Got A Feeling Song" before each lesson.






10 minutes

At their desks, students sing a song at the opening of each science lesson.  This song motivates and engages my Junior Scientists at the beginning of each science lesson. During science lessons, I call them scientists to empower and encourage them to become dreamers and doers.

“I can” statement

I call on a student to read our "I Can" statement for the day. While using an over-sized microphone, a scientist says, "I can recognize force as a push or pull ." The "I Can" statement helps students take ownership of the lesson as they put standards into context. The other students praise the student that reads the "I Can" statement by clapping.  I encourage students to give each other praise to boost their self-esteem.


Students listen to a song about Force. In listening to the song the students learn that force is a push or pull. I play the song for my students because they enjoy singing. Also, students observe words to the song in a video format.

Assessing Questions

After the video, the students are asked questions such as: What is force? How can force stop things from moving?  These questions are asked to check for students understanding and to make sure that they learn key scientific vocabulary.


10 minutes

While students sit at their desks, they are informed that they are going to complete an investigation in pairs. They are encouraged to find three to five objects (i.e. chair, desk, door, table, drawer) in the classroom that will be moved by force. For real world application, they discuss how they move the objects. 

After I provide the students with the directions. They are instructed to locate their buddy. Their buddies are already assigned. Then the pairs are provided a lab sheet.  Students record the outcomes on the data chart. The chart permits students to quickly grasp their learning in an organized way. They are permitted to talk to their buddy to boost eagerness in communicating with their peers.   

As the partners investigate, I pose these questions: What objects were moved with a push/pull? Explain?  What objects were moved with both a push or pull? How is forced used in your everyday life?  The questions are asked to enhance students’ natural curiosity as well as provide me with an opportunity to check for understanding.

Student Debriefing

While the students are sitting at their desks, I permit some of the pairs to share the items that they located in the classroom.  I take up the lab sheets to ensure that students understood how force could be applied in their everyday lives.  I am checking to make sure that the students located objects that they could push, pull, or both.



10 minutes

While students are sitting at their desks, they complete an assessment. Students are already grouped based on abilities: Achievers are the students who perform below grade level; Super Stars are students who perform on grade level; and All Stars are the students who perform above grade level. Grouping students according to ability levels allows them to receive the support that they need  in order to grow academically.

Achievers: Push or Pull Worksheet- Students indicate whether a push or pull was used to move various objects.

Super Stars: Venn Diagram-  Students complete a Venn diagram to compare and contrast items that they can push or pull. Super Star-Force-Student Work

All Stars: Students complete an advancing question. The advancing question asks students to explain what kind of force would be used if they ran out of gas. Out of Gas-All Star-Force-Student Work