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SWBAT how the amount of force applied can impact the distance a car travels.

Big Idea

Junior Scientists learn how to measure the motion of a toy car using weak or strong force.

Setting the Stage

National Science Teaching Standards:

Position and Motion

“The position and motion of objects can be changed by pushing or pulling, the size of the change is related to the strength of the push or pull.” In this lesson, students learn that a push or pull can be used to move various objects. Force is something that pushes or pulls an object to make it move. This lesson is imperative because students have studied force and understand that it is used to move objects. Now they will learn about the change in position. They use a toy car to push it using a weak or strong push. The students use a tape measure to measure the distance.

Science and Engineering Practice:

SP 4 addresses collecting and recording, and sharing observations. In this lesson, the students use a weak and strong push to move a car. The students record their observations on a table. As they record the data, they discuss their findings. 

SP 8 addresses communicating information or design ideas and/or solutions with others in oral and /or written forms using models, drawings, writing, or numbers that provide detail about scientific ideas, practices, and/or design ideas. Students test the theory that variations in force can be used to move objects at various distances. They collaborated in groups to document the information using a number line.

Prior Knowledge: Students understand that force is a push or pull that causes objects to move. They also understand that motion is movement. Students are learning that force is needed in all science concepts.

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.

Teacher note:

Cars and Ramps Journal

Students are provided a Cars and Ramps journal. They record their learning experience in their journal book. The "Cars and Ramps" booklet is used throughout the entire "Cars and Ramp" unit. The book helps students to showcase their learning but at the same time help to support their writing skills. Their parents read their book at the end of the unit to enhance parental involvement.



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 my students scientists to empower and encourage them to become dreamers and doers.

“I Can” statement

I call on a student to read the “I Can” statement for the day. Using an over-sized microphone, a scientist says, "I can recognize that the position and motion of objects can be changed by pushing or pulling." Reciting the “I Can” statement motivates the students to engage in the science investigation because it allows the students to take ownership of the lesson.



25 minutes

My students proceed to their group tables when I say "We Are On The Move" and they stand and sing, We Are On The Move. This routine helps my students move to their table with very few distractions. This also helps my auditory learners who enjoy singing as well as my kinesthetic children who enjoy moving.  

When students get to their tables, they begin to assign their roles: a person to lead, record, measure, and report. I assign the leader who is one of my advanced students who posses, leadership qualities. They put on their group labels with a clothes pin to ensure that I know each child's role.  Students are grouped by abilities to support students’ learning. I want all my students to take ownership of their learning, so assigning roles permits students to develop confidence in their roles while using their strengths to accomplish their group's goals.  All hands must be on deck.  The groups are reminded of the group rules. The group rules are located at their table so they can reference them.

Groups are provided with a “Forced to Finish” lab sheet. Then groups are asked to observe the two cars (Car A and Car B) take part in a race. Observing the cars permits the students to describe the properties such as shape, size, color as well as ask questions. Also,they are encouraged to ask questions The students predict whether a strong push or weak push moves the car. The students write down their predictions on the lab sheet.

Various students in the group use force to move the cars. Groups observe and discuss how the two cars move. They observe “Car A” which is given a soft push to see how far it travels. After the students notate how far “Car A” travels, another student gives “Car B” a harder push and the reporter notates how far it travels.  Groups record their data on a number line and the distance traveled is measured in centimeters.

When the investigation is finished, I pose these questions: What type of force was used to move the cars? A soft and a hard push.  What type of motion did the cars have?  Straight motion. What happened when the car was pushed soft/hard?  It didn’t travel very far, it traveled farther. What type of force would you use if you wanted an object to travel a very far distance?  A hard push or pull.

Forced to Finish-Student Work-Lab Sheet

Forced to Finish-video


10 minutes

Cars and Ramps Journal

While students sit at their desks, they are to record their learning experiences in a "Cars and Ramp" journal book. The students are to answer the following question: What happen when you use a strong and weak force? Also, they can discuss what they learn from the investigation. The journal helps students to record their findings to support their learning. 

Cars and Ramps Journal-Student Work

Cars and Ramps Journal-Student Work