Before the lesson:
Explicitly introduce the following vocabulary words:
1. Force (show vocabulary card from printed materials)
Define: Force is the push or pull of an object.
Example: Gravity is a force that pulls objects to the Earth.
Ask: How do you use force to close a door?
2. Energy (show vocabulary card from printed materials)
Define: Energy is the ability to do work.
Example: It takes energy to jump in the air.
Ask: What is an outdoor activity that uses energy to do?
Read the learning targets together.
-design a ramp to make an object move.
-observe characteristics of a moving object.
Divide students into science investigation groups (of 2 students) and use the "Think-Pair-Share" Method.
The students will sit criss-cross, look eye-to-eye with their partner, one friend will talk, and the other friend will listen.
Show the students all the materials in the group boxes. (Students should have had some free exploration time with these materials prior to this lesson.)
The teacher will ask the following questions (and walk around the room to listen to discussions):
- How can you change the way a ball rolls down a ramp?
- How do you think you could change a ramp to make the ball go further?
During the lesson:
Gather the students back as one large group.
Tell students that they will explore what happens to a ball when it rolls down a ramp from a higher place than another ramp.
Remind students of all the materials that will be found in each group's box. Using the materials show students how they will set up 2 different ramps of the same lengths, but different heights (one with one block, the other with two.)
Ask students to suggest how they could compare the two ramps. Their answers might include:
- Race two balls and the same time and see which gets to the end of the ramp first.
- Put a can at the end of each ramp and see how far the ball pushes it.
- Put a block at the end of each ramp and see which one gets knocked over.
- Use the masking tape to mark where each ball stopped on the ground.
Remind students that good scientists test their results several times.
Remind students to always start at the top of the ramp and not to push the balls down the ramp, but let gravity work.
Divide students into groups of four.
Direct each group to a large area to perform the task.
Give groups their individual box of materials and show them where the cut masking tape is kept.
The teacher should observe each group during testing and encourage them to try each ramp several times, and make sure students are taking turns with different responsibilities.
The teacher should ask questions during testing, such as:
- Are you helping the ball or letting gravity do the work?
- Are your results for the same for each ramp every time you roll the ball down?
- What could you do to make the ball roll even faster (without pushing it)?
- What happens to the can at the end of the ramp? What would happen if you moved the can further from the end of the ramp?
- Which ramp gives the ball the most energy?
- What force is used to move the ball down the ramp?
- What would happen if your ramp was flat? Would the ball be able to roll by itself?
Give groups plenty of time to test their ramps.
When finished, have students clean up their ramps, balls, blocks, and cans. Have students remove masking tape from the floor and throw it away.
After the lesson:
Have students individually draw the ramps from their groups' findings on the "Ramp Exploration" page. Students will be able to answer the questions based on their group exploration.
Have students discuss their findings with their groups.
Have groups present findings with the rest of the class.
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