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SWBAT compare and contrast a toy vehicle versus a real car.

Big Idea

Students learn that force can be applied to cars.

Setting the Stage

National Science Teaching Standards:

Abilities of Technological Design

“Evaluate a product of design.”

In this lesson, students observe a toy car to discuss its properties and how it was constructed. They use words to describe the toy car by using a circle maps, so the students complete a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast a toy car and a real car. This lesson is important because students learn about car parts. Also, they are provided with an opportunity to discuss how cars function. The students also discuss using force to make various parts in a car move. This lesson helps to motivate students for the Cars and Ramps unit. This lesson is taught to reinforce Tennessee State Standards. 

Science and Engineering Practice:

SP 2 addresses comparing models to identify common features. In this lesson, the students compare and contrast two types of cars, a real car and a toy car. They use a circle map to discuss the features. 

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 communicate in groups to discuss a toy car and real car. It is important that students are provided the opportunity to dialogue with their peers.

Prior Knowledge:

Students understand that force is a push or pull that causes objects to move. They also understand that motion can measured and used to describe positions. 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 to record their learning experience in a "Cars and Ramp" journal book. The "Cars and Ramps" booklet is used through out our the entire "Cars and Ramp" unit. The book helps students to showcase their learning but at that 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 them scientists to empower students 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 compare and contrast a toy vehicle and a real car." 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.


As a class, we discuss what are some special features that can be found on a car. Then the students discuss what are some things that they can push or pull on the outside or inside of a car. These questions help to stimulate students' thinking about cars and how force can used to operate vehicles.



20 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.

All the groups are provided with a toy vehicle and a circle map. They observe the toy car and record their findings on the circle map. The groups observe the toy car so they can inquire how a toy car is constructed. This investigation helps to support the students when it is time to create a Lego car.

As the groups work, I facilitate the discussion by posing the following questions: What are the properties of the toy car? How is the toy car and real car alike? How is the toy car different from a real car?

When groups are finished, I permit the groups to share their findings, as a whole class. It is important that students are provided the opportunity to communicate their results to others as they continue to develop into little scientists.

Car Circle Map-Student Work


10 minutes

I take the students outside to observe my car to ensure that students understand how a real car look.  We discuss what parts can be push or pull. I permit the students to use force to move the various car parts. Then we discuss the toy car and how it is a model of real car. Scientists create models to help people identify common features and differences. 

While students are at their desks, I provide the students with a Venn diagram. They are to compare and contrast a real car versus a toy car. The Venn diagram is a graphic organizer which is a tremendously helpful learning tool. I use this tool to help students identify similarities and differences.

I take up the Venn diagram to evaluate their learning. 

 Journal Topic

In the students' journal, they were to answer the following question: What were the observable properties of the toy car?  I take up the students journal to make sure that they had address the question and if they discuss their investigation.

Cars-Student Work

Cars and Ramps Journal-Student Work

Comparing and Contrasting Cars-video