ALEX Lesson Plan

     

Marble Coaster

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Lora Haghighi
System: Homewood City
School: Edgewood Elementary School
The event this resource created for:NASA
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 34290

Title:

Marble Coaster

Overview/Annotation:

This lesson is adapted from a lesson entitled, "Marble Run", from the NASA Education Guide Amusement Park Physics with a NASA Twist.

Students will explore the effects of force, speed, motion, and gravity in creating a roller coaster track for a marble.

This lesson was created as part of the 2016 NASA STEM Standards of Practice Project, a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 3
1 ) Plan and carry out an experiment to determine the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object using one variable at a time, including number, size, direction, speed, position, friction, or air resistance (e.g., balanced forces pushing from both sides on an object, such as a box, producing no motion; unbalanced force on one side of an object, such as a ball, producing motion), and communicate these findings graphically.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Planning and Carrying out Investigations
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Planned an experiment to determine the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object using one variable at a time.
  • Carried out an experiment to determine the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object using one variable at a time.
  • Collected data from experiment to serve as the basis of evidence for how balanced and unbalanced forces on an object determines an object's motion.
  • Communicated evidence and findings from experiment graphically.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Experiment
  • Variable
  • Motion
  • Force (push and pull)
  • Balanced forces
  • Unbalanced forces
  • Cause and effect
  • Number
  • Size
  • Direction
  • Position
  • Friction
  • Air resistance
  • Communicate
  • Graphically
  • Net force
  • Sum
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Each force acts on one particular object and has both strength and direction.
  • An object at rest typically has multiple forces acting on it, but they add to give zero net force on the object.
  • Forces that do not sum to zero can cause changes in the object's speed or direction of motion.
  • Objects in contact exert forces on each other.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Collaboratively plan an experiment to determine the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object using one variable at a time.
  • Carry out an experiment to determine the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object using one variable at a time.
  • Collect and record data from experiment.
  • Describe how the investigation plan addresses the purpose of the investigation.
  • Communicate findings graphically.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Cause and effect relationships provide evidence when investigating balanced and unbalanced forces.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Forces and Investigations

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
P4.13: An object is in motion when its position is changing. The speed of an object is defined by how far it travels divided by the amount of time it took to travel that far.

NAEP Statement::
P4.14: The motion of objects can be changed by pushing or pulling. The size of the change is related to the size of the force (push or pull) and the weight (mass) of the object on which the force is exerted. When an object does not move in response to a push or a pull, it is because another push or pull (friction) is being applied by the environment.



Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.3.1- Identify the effect of a force (e.g., push, pull, gravity) applied to an object.


Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 3
3 ) Explore objects that can be manipulated in order to determine cause-and-effect relationships (e.g., distance between objects affecting strength of a force, orientation of magnets affecting direction of a magnetic force) of electric interactions between two objects not in contact with one another (e.g., force on hair from an electrically charged balloon, electrical forces between a charged rod and pieces of paper) or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with one another (e.g., force between two permanent magnets or between an electromagnet and steel paperclips, force exerted by one magnet versus the force exerted by two magnets).

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Observe and manipulate objects to identify cause and effect relationships of electrical interactions between two objects not in contact with one another.
  • Observe and manipulate objects to identify cause and effect relationships of magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with one another.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Explore
  • Manipulate
  • Cause and Effect
  • Electrical Interactions
  • Magnetic Interactions
  • Magnet
  • Repel
  • Attract
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • The size of the force can affect the electrical and magnetic interaction of two objects not in contact with one another.
  • The orientation of magnets can affect the magnetic interaction of two objects not in contact with one another.
  • The repulsion or attraction of magnets can affect the magnetic interaction of two objects not in contact with one another.
  • The presence of a magnet and the force the magnet exerts on other objects affects the magnetic force of two objects not in contact with one another.
  • The electrical charge of an object can affect the electrical force of two objects not in contact with one another.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Explore electrical interactions between two objects not in contact with one another.
  • Explore magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with one another.
  • Determine cause-and-effect relationships of electrical interactions between two objects not in contact with one another.
  • Determine cause-and-effect relationships of magnetic interactions not in contact with one another.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change.
  • Magnetic and electrical forces affect the way objects interact.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Forces and Investigations

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
P4.5: Magnets can repel or attract other magnets. They can also attract certain nonmagnetic objects at a distance.



Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.3.3- Recognize cause-and-effect relationships of magnetic interactions between two objects (opposite poles attract, similar poles repel).


Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
1 ) Use evidence to explain the relationship of the speed of an object to the energy of that object.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Energy and Matter
Disciplinary Core Idea: Energy
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Use evidence, e.g. measurements, observations, and patterns, to explain the relationship between energy and speed.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Construct
  • Evidence
  • Energy
  • Explanation
  • Relative speed
  • Phenomenon
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Motion can indicate the energy of an object.
  • The observable impact of a moving object interacting with its surroundings reflects how much energy can be transferred between objects and therefore relates to the energy of the moving object.
  • The faster a given object is moving the more observable the impact it can have on another object.
  • The speed of an object is related to the energy of the object.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Articulate from evidence to explain the observable impact of the speed of an object and the energy of an object.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Energy and Waves

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.4.1- Recognize that objects move at different speeds.


Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
3 ) Investigate to determine changes in energy resulting from increases or decreases in speed that occur when objects collide.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Planning and Carrying out Investigations
Crosscutting Concepts: Energy and Matter
Disciplinary Core Idea: Energy
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Use evidence from investigations to describe changes in energy that occur when objects collide.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • collide
  • relative motion
  • relative speed
  • relative brightness
  • phenomenon
  • inertia
  • momentum
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Qualitative measure of energy (e.g. relative motion, relative speed, relative brightness) before the collision.
  • Mechanism of energy transfer.
  • Energy can transfer between colliding objects.
  • Energy can transfer to the surrounding air when objects collide resulting in sound and heat.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Plan and carry out an investigation to determine changes in energy that occur when objects collide.
    • Identify the evidence to address the purpose of the investigation.
    • Collect the data.
  • Use data to provide evidence that energy is present whenever there are moving objects, sound, light, or heat and that it can be transferred from place to place.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Energy and Waves

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.4.3- Identify the effect of an opposing force on a moving object.


Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 5
6 ) Construct an explanation from evidence to illustrate that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed downward towards the center of Earth.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Support an explanation with evidence that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • construct
  • explanation
  • gravitational force
  • evidence
  • illustrate
  • spherical
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • The Earth's shape is spherical.
  • That objects dropped appear to fall straight down.
  • That people live all around the spherical Earth, and they all observe that objects appear to fall straight down.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Construct an explanation of observed relationships.
  • Use evidence to illustrate the relationship between gravity and objects on Earth.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • If Earth is spherical, and all observers see objects near them falling directly "down" to the Earth's surface, then all observers would agree that objects fall toward the Earth's center.
  • Since an object that is initially stationary when held moves downward when it is released, there must be a force (gravity) acting on the object that pulls the object toward the center of the Earth.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Earth: Gravity and Space

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.5.6- Identify examples of objects being affected by Earth's downward gravitational force.


Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 5
7 ) Design and conduct a test to modify the speed of a falling object due to gravity (e.g., constructing a parachute to keep an attached object from breaking).*

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Design a test to modify the speed of a falling object.
  • Conduct a test to modify the speed of a falling object.
  • Collect and record data including data before and after the modification is added.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • gravity
  • design
  • conduct
  • gravitational force
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • The gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed downward towards the center of Earth.
  • How an engineering design process is used to design and conduct a test.
  • The properties (surface area, substance, weight) of different materials used to modify the speed of a falling object will affect the fall.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Apply scientific ideas to solve design problems.
  • Generate and compare multiple solutions to a problem based on how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the design solution.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • A device added to a falling object can cause the speed to be modified.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Earth: Gravity and Space

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.5.7- Identify solutions designed to reduce the effects of a falling object due to gravity (e.g., a parachute to keep an attached object from breaking).


Local/National Standards:

 

Primary Learning Objective(s):

The student will be able to construct a model of a roller coaster, taking into consideration the effects of gravity, speed, force, and motion. 

The student will be able to adapt their design to create a successful product.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 
 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

  • 2 pieces of foam pipe insulation per group (1 roll cut in half; NOT the self adhesive type) 
  • 1 marble per group
  • Roller Coaster Planning Guide (1 per group)
  • Reflection Sheet (1 per group, or 1 per student)

 **You can give your students masking tape to tape their track down, but students can easily hold the track, as well.

 

Technology Resources Needed:

 

Background/Preparation:

 
  Procedures/Activities: 

This lesson can be broken up into two separate lessons or one large science block, depending on schedule. 

Roller Coaster Simulation: (15-30 minutes

Students will need access to computers, individually or in pairs, to access the JASON Digital Lab Coaster Creator.  They will be able to construct a roller coaster, adding hills and loops. Students will begin to see that the number of cars that they include, and the location of hills and loops is critical to their roller coaster reaching the end of the track without crashing. They can edit their track and train as many times as necessary.

There is a graph that shows the potential and kinetic energy at each point on the track as the train goes through the course. The students should be able to relate these concepts to modify their track.

Activity: (30-45 minutes)

Students will need the Marble Coaster Planning Guide, found in the Attachments section of this lesson plan. This gives them 5 spots to record changes that they make in their Roller Coaster and to target any problem areas. 

Before they begin planning, show them the pieces of the foam "track," but do not allow them to get their materials until they show you their original design. Remind them that when they are holding the tubing, their hands should not get in the way of the track.

The group should work together to design a roller coaster that includes: an initial hill, an ending hill, one additional hill, and a complete loop. The marble must run the full distance of the track. 

 You will only check their design for necessary components. Do not correct their designs. 

Once they have shown you their initial design, they are ready to get the two halves of their foam pipe insulation and their marble to test their design. They need to mark where the marble falls off the track or where the marble stops/rolls backwards. 

They will need to "go back to the drawing board" after their first test to make edits. Before they test their design a second time, they need to make any edits to their design in the Trial 2 box.

At some point, a group might realize that force is the element that their group needs to change. They can just make note of that instead of drawing a new diagram.

**If a group is successful more quickly than other groups, you can up the challenge, by adding a jump/gap in the track.

It is important to make sure to leave time for a reflection period. Students can complete the reflection piece individually or as a group. The 2nd question is grade-specific to align with either 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade standards that correspond with this activity.  Reflection questions can be found in the Attachments section of this lesson plan.



Attachments:
**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.
  Assessment  

Assessment Strategies

The teacher will be able to assess students based on a successful design. The reflection component should also illustrate clear understanding of the concepts.

Since this lesson is covered in standards from 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, teachers can add or take away certain components to tailor this activity more to their standards. The reflection pieces varies as a result.

Acceleration:

A timed component can be added to this activity. Students can record the time for each of five runs, then graph the results, and/or calculate the average speed.

There are more variations of this activity and more extensions in the Amusement Park Physics With a NASA Twist Education Guide.

Intervention:

 

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.