EDpuzzles: Forces, Fields and Other Exciting Things

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Students will demonstrate their understanding of force interactions and motion by creating visuals.

Big Idea

Working independently while using technology is a great way to learn and study forces and fields.


The goal of this lesson is to help students make connections to a physics topic of their choice. This lesson addresses the HS-PS3-2 and SL.11-12.2 standards because it asks students to create a visual on a topic of their choice that relate to the interactions between objects and the existence of fields. It aligns with the NGSS Practices of Constructing Explanations (SP6), Engaging in Argument from Evidence (SP7) and Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information (SP8) for Science because students use mathematical logic to create summaries to explain factors that are related to either the Big Bang Theory, types of fields, momentum transfer or forces. This lesson also is aligned to the NGSS Cross-Cutting Idea of Patterns because students create a visual that demonstrates an understanding of an EdPuzzle video and guiding questions. 

Today's lesson is shorter because we have a half-day for teacher-led parent-teacher conferences. Students begin with a bell-ringer and then choose an EdPuzzle on a physics topic of their choice. I ask students to work in pairs to create a visual about their topic. During the closing activity, I ask students to write in their notebooks a headline about today's lesson.


5 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 working independently while using technology to improve your current level of understanding is a great way to learn about forces. The objective of the bell-ringer is to give students a clear understanding of the focus of today's lesson.  I choose EDpuzzles to study forces because I want students to learn that leveraging technology to extend their current understanding of topics like forces and fields is a great way to learn new ideas in physics.

Creating a Visual From An EDpuzzle on Interactions

45 minutes

After students write the information into their notebooks, I distribute Chromebooks and ask students to look at the EDpuzzles I post on our class Edmodo wall. Today's lesson is much shorter than most others in this unit. I post these three EDpuzzles on our class wall using Edmodo and ask students to spend the first fifteen minutes writing notes for each EDpuzzle in their lab notebooks. Students watch the first minute or so of each EDpuzzle and choose which EDpuzzle to study further. After fifteen minutes pass, I ask students to spend a minute or two working with their elbow partners to choose a single topic to create an illustration that summarizes important information from the topic of their choice. 

Student pairs spend about thirty minutes creating infographics by hand that illustrate their understanding of their topic. An infographic is a visualization tool that combines non-linguistic models of information in an eye-catching format that both informs and illustrates a conceptual understanding of a complex topic. I tell students that each infographic must:

  • Include a title that demonstrates the purpose of the visual. 
  • Have a clear and consistent organization that is both engaging and easy to read.
  • Illustrates key physics terms from their topic

Click here and here to see example visuals. I assess these visuals using this consortium physics rubric found here on the representation domain. At the end of this section, I talk to students for a minute or two about tonight's student-led conferences which follow the protocol I discuss in an earlier lesson.

Closure: Headline on Forces and Fields

5 minutes

The closure activity this section asks students to write down ideas about forces in their notebooks or our Edmodo wall using a Headlines Routine. The headlines routine asks students to create a headline that communicates the most important part of a lesson into a headline typically in 15 words or less. Student responses include: "Forces are either strong, weak, electromagnetic, or gravitational", "Forces depend on fundamental particles", and "In physics scientists attempt to describe all of the interactions using a theory of everything".

This type of closure activity asks students to identify points of weakness in their understanding and tools that may help them be successful in producing a presentation that will positively help them during their oral defenses. To wrap up this section of the lesson, I ask students to watch the three EDpuzzles from this lesson posted on the class Edmodo wall and to pay special attention to the two videos they did not watch in today's lesson.