Exhibition Day 2: Creating An Explanation of Projectile Motion Using Angry Birds as A Model

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Students will demonstrate their understanding of projectile motion by creating a museum exhibit.

Big Idea

Creating a cohesive project that explains projectile motion in depth is a great way to learn and study physics.


This lesson is the second installment of a pair of lessons which follows a series of lessons where students:

  • define a projectile as an object moving solely under the influence of gravity
  • make connections between trigonometric identities and the components of a projectile's velocity
  • investigate the independent vertical and horizontal motions of a projectile
  • predict the parabolic trajectory of a projectile 
  • extend Galileo's equations of motion to create models for the maximum height, time of flight and range of a projectile
  • compare two mathematical models for a projectile's range


Within this lesson, students interpret multiple sets of information they gather from various media and sources while using trigonometric identities, equations of motion and the Pythagorean theorem to solve problems related to a projectile's motion. The goal of this lesson is for students to craft a museum exhibit that demonstrates their understanding of projectile motion. This lesson addresses the RI.11-12.7, HSG-SRT.C.8, HS-PS2-1 standards as a way to effectively compose a multi-component projectile motion project.  

Students research concepts related to projectile motion using the NGSS Practices of Using Mathematical and Logical Reasoning (SP5) and Constructing Explanations (SP6) and Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information (SP8) within a projectile motion project. Students continue creating a museum exhibit that includes a poster, a 2D/3D artifact, and a digital artifact. I assess student understanding throughout the lesson using informal check-ins and assess each student's work at the end of the school day. I want students to learn to integrate information from various points of this course into a coherent projectI ask students to look for and take note of connections between the factors from this week's lessons and the presentation they are constructing over the course of the next few lessons.


10 minutes

This portion of the lesson begins with a routine where students write the objective and additional piece of information in their notebooks as soon as they enter the classroom. I project a slide with the date, the objective and an additional prompt  on the interactive whiteboard with a red label that says "COPY THIS" in the top left-hand corner. Sometimes the additional prompt is a BIG IDEA for the lesson or the Quote of the Day or a Quick Fact from current events that is related to the lesson. The red label helps my students easily interact with the information as soon as they enter the room and avoids losing transition time as students enter the classroom.

Today's additional piece of information is a Big Idea which states that creating a cohesive project that explains projectile motion in depth is a great way to learn and study physics. The objective of the bell-ringer is to give students a clear understanding of the focus of today's lesson.  I choose the activities in this lesson because I want students to learn that building a cohesive project that communicates information about projectile motion to an audience is a useful skill for studying and practicing physics.

Modifying A Cohesive Project On Projectile Motion

55 minutes

During this section of the lesson, students work in pairs to implement their game plans for creating a museum exhibit on the topic of projectile motion from a previous lessonSome students opt to work on a single part of the exhibit during this part of the lesson. Other students divvy up the work such that one partner may work on creating a graphic novel while the other partner works on creating a poster.

Student pairs continue to work on creating a museum quality project on projectile motion using materials from the resource station and a tri-fold presentation board. The front resource station holds equipment in labeled drawers or containers and includes scissors, rulers, meter sticks, washers, colored pencils, markers, dry erase markers, string, whiteboards, different sizes of unlined paper, and highlighters. Meanwhile, I project the requirements for student exhibits on the interactive whiteboard at the front of the room. 

I circulate the classroom using the Uninterrupted Time Strategy to answer questions students have about the projectile motion exhibit. This is a long term project that students spend a lot of independent time completing. Today's lesson is the second in a series of checkpoints I use to assess students' progress toward completing their museum exhibits. Sometime over the course of the next 10 days, students present this project. Although I provide some classroom time for this project, students are required to do independent work as well. Click here and here to see examples of completed student work.

At the end of this section, I ask students to label their exhibit components and return the materials they used during this section to the front resource station. A resource manager returns each material to a bin or labeled drawer so that they are readily available the next time students need these materials.


10 minutes

The closure activity this section asks students to identify the most important and challenging portions of the lesson and write them in their lab notebooks. Student responses include: "The best part of the lesson was the uninterrupted time because I had time to focus on my work without worrying that my questions would not be discussed", and "The most challenging part of this lesson was crafting the poster board in an easy to understand manner". I like this activity because students reflect on their learning strengths and identify areas of potential growth. 

To wrap up this section of the lesson, I ask students to continue working on the museum exhibit. I also ask them to check Edmodo and keep up with their exhibit tasks so that they are ready to present at the end of the 10 day timeframe for this project.