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This lesson provided by:
Author:Keisha Lewis
System: Perry County
School: Francis Marion School
Lesson Plan ID: 23813

Straight Line Motion


This is an introductory lesson on straight line motion and the forces that affect motion. Some of the terms introduced in this lesson are force, gravity, and speed. The activities in this lesson will help students begin to understand that gravity, mass, and friction have an effect on speed and motion.
This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.

Content Standard(s):
SC(4) 4. Describe effects of friction on moving objects.
MA2015(3) 19. Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units — whole numbers, halves, or quarters. [3-MD4]
ELA2015(4) 9. By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the Grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. [RL.4.10]
Local/National Standards:

National Science Education Standards come from the National Academies of Science
NS.K-4.1: As a result of activities in grades K-4, all students should develop an understanding about scientific inquiry.
NS.K-4.2: As a result of the activities in grades K-4, all students should develop an understanding of position and motion of objects.

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Objective 1: The student will be able to define the basic concepts/key ideas of the terms force, gravity, and speed.
Objective 2: The student will be able to explain that the effects of gravity, mass, and friction have an effect on speed and motion.

Additional Learning Objective(s):  
Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 61 to 90 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

Per groups of 3-4 students:
~Books, blocks, or other stacking materials
~Pieces of smooth plywood or other sturdy, flat material, 1 per group
~Small toy cars with moving wheels, 1 per group
~3 Pennies, 3 washers, or other small uniform objects with weight, 3 per group
~Tape,pencils and erasers
~Stop watch (or watch with second hand), 1 per group
~Meter stick, 1 per group
~Science journals/notebooks and textbooks

Technology Resources Needed:

At least two computers with Internet access will be needed for this lesson. (Extension)


The teacher needs to have prior knowledge of the terms being defined in the lesson as well as being familiar with the concept of "straight line motion" and how it is demonstrated in the lesson.

1.)The teacher will write the following terms on the board: force, gravity, and speed. The teacher will activate students' prior knowledge by asking them to tell as much as they can about each of the words.
After listing the students' responses on the board, the teacher will then allow the students to confirm the definitions of the terms by looking each of the terms up in their science textbook glossary and writing the correct definitions in their journals/notebooks.

2.)The teacher will then explain to the students that todays lesson demonstrates a relationship between the three terms found on the board. (force, gravity, speed)

3.) Demonstrate making a ramp by placing one or more books under one end of the plywood. Show students how to gently push the toy car down the ramp and then measure the speed and distance it traveled with a meter stick and stopwatch.(Using the meter stick to measure the distance it traveled and the stopwatch to measure the time it took to travel the distance: start the stopwatch when it begins and stop the stopwatch when it stops.)

4.) Ask students the following question to help them brainstorm ideas: "What makes the car move toward the bottom of the ramp? What keeps it from moving faster?" Allow students to write a response (prediction) in their science journal/notebook.

5.) Divide students into groups of 3 or 4 according to their abilities. The teacher should be sure to group students demonstrating strength in the subject matter with students demonstrating weakness in the subject matter.

6.) Have students help pass out materials.

7.) Allow students time to assemble their ramps and independently explore a bit with their cars, rolling the cars down the ramps. Allow the groups a few minutes to experiment with their ramps, rolling their cars down different height ramps to see what height allows the car to go the fastest and farthest. Ask students: "What does increasing or decreasing the angle of the ramp do for the motion of the car?"

8.)Have groups elect a record keeper to record data and a timer. Explain that each group will conduct 3 experiments which will consist of 3 trial runs.
The first experiment will be to roll the car down the ramp with no added material. Students will record the time it takes for the car to roll down the ramp and how far the car travels for each of the 3 trial runs, and then average (review the steps for averaging) the scores.

9.) After this initial exploration, ask groups to stick to the angle of ramp they found that works the best (best speed and distance for the car) for the remainder of the lesson.

10.) Give each group three pennies, three washers, or other uniform metal objects. Have them all feel one and talk about the weight of it. Then, have them tape two pennies to the top of their toy car. Ask them to hypothesize whether they think this added weight would make the car move faster or slower the car with no added weight. Tell students to again roll the car down the ramp three times, recording the speed and distance for each. Then have them find the average of the three trials. Ask students the following questions: "Did the car move faster or slower with the added weight? Why do you think this is?" Discuss briefly about mass and how it affects speed.

11.) Have students tape the remaining objects (one penny and two washers) to the top of the car. Ask students, "What will happen this time?" Ask them to record their hypotheses in their science journals/notebooks before conducting three more trials. Students should remember to record the speed and distance from each trial and then find the average.

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. Your Rubric str l m.doc
Assessment Strategies:

Ask students to discuss the predictions they made about the third experiment. Were they correct? What helped them to develop their predictions? What forces are at work making the car move differently with the added weight? Ask them to explain the effect of a greater mass had on the movement of the car and have an open discussion about gravity and friction. Predictions may be assessed by viewing students' science journals/notebooks.
Assessment will be conducted during the activity, in the classroom, and by reviewing completed journal/notebook entries after experiments have been completed (see attachment for rubric).


Students will be encouraged to conduct similar experiments to gain better understanding of gravity, motion, and speed through the use of the following website: Gravity Launch.


Students needing remediation after the lesson may be allowed to complete the demonstration again with a student that exemplifies strength in this subject area.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

Hosted by Alabama Supercomputer Authority
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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