Content Background
Student Preparation
Content Strands
Process Strands
Benchmarks and Performance Standards
Content Maps
Content Outline
Performance Tasks
Rubrics for Performance Tasks
Instructional Activities
Materials and Resources
Web Links
Georgia Quality Core Curriculum References
Iowa Tests of Basic Skills References
References to National Standards
  Day 1
Objective:  To introduce unit and stimulate interest in simple machines. 

Materials: playground equipment, chart paper and markers, cards for Win, Lose, or Draw 

Large group activity:  

  • Introduce terms on board to provide vocabulary base:  gravity, friction, and force. 
  • Briefly discuss as large group the meaning of each term. 
Playground activity 
  • Take entire class outside for whole group activity. 
  • Select a few students to demonstrate gravity on the monkey bars. 
  • Ask them to climb halfway across bars.  Then, ask them to hang and let go of bars. 
  • Discuss what caused the students to drop to the ground. 
  • Take the students to the slide for a demonstration of friction. 
  • Have students predict if students would travel faster down the slide with or without a towel. 
  • Allow several students to go down the slide with and without the use of a towel. 
  • Note the difference and briefly discuss the use of friction. 
  • Reinforce the utility of gravity to enable the students to go down the slide.
  • Take the students to the swings to demonstrate the concepts of force, work, and inertia. 
  • Discuss the terms as the students demonstrate as they swing.
  • Go back to class for a wrap up. 
Language arts connection:   
  • Discuss as a large group what transpired on the playground.  A shared writing experience would be excellent to summarize the experience as well as provide a written format for students to read. 
  • Brainstorm as a group and write the group responses on chart paper. 
  • Circle conceptual terms for a word bank.  Include gravity, inertia, force, and friction. 
  • You may wish to wrap up this lesson with a game of Win, Lose, or Draw.  To play this game, hand a student a card stating a situation that demonstrates gravity, force, or friction.  Using a chalk board the student will draw a picture that illustrates the force described on the card.  A team scores points by explaining what force is at work and what effect it is having on the item in the picture.
To reinforce science:  
  • Divide students into cooperative groups. 
  • Ask them to list other examples of demonstrating gravity, inertia, force, and friction.  
Spelling activity:  
  • Introduce spelling list: gravity, inertia, force, work, friction, lever, inclined plane, wheel and axle, wedge, screw, load, fulcrum, simple machine, roller coaster, merry-go-round, catapult, resistance, momentum 
Language arts activity:  

The book, The Littles and the Trash Tinies by John Peterson uses many of the simple machines.  

  • Introduce the book and read the first chapter.  In the first chapter, the Littles made a fruitcake using kitchen utensils. 
  • Review the simple machines demonstrated in these kitchen utensils. 
  Days 2-3 
Objective:  for Days 2 and 3 (or as long as need and interest dictates)- To reinforce and expand concepts of friction using centers . These centers will provide science, math, and language arts connections. 

Materials:  toy car, carpet, sand paper, wax paper, bare wood, tape measurer, marble, containers with lids, hand lotion, variety of shoes with different treads, gripper, paper, lotion, wax paper, foil, Saran Wrap, paint can, marbles, World Book CD  

Large group activity:  

  • The teacher demonstrates and explains to the large group about each center. 
  • After the group explanation, allow the students to divide into small groups and rotate to provide adequate time to explore each "hands on" center. 
Small group activity:  
  • Center 1: Don't Get too Wound up. Explain to the students that they will observe a toy up car travel down different surfaces such as carpet, sand paper, waxed paper, and bare wood with the same incline of plane.  Ask the students to make predictions of the distance that each car will travel.  Measure and record differences to allow comparisons.

  • Center 2: The Difference is Plane to See. Use different heights of inclined planes and a marble.  Ask students to make predictions of distances the marble will travel on the different planes.  Ask students to make estimations and to make actual measurements of distances traveled. Discuss potential and kinetic energy that will be utilized. 

  • Center 3: Quick Lube. Explain to the students that different items will be used to open lids of  different containers including waxed paper, plastic wrap, etc.  Ask students to use hand lotion to try to open different lids and ask students to predict the difference as they try to open the jars.  Ask students to record observations. 

  • Center 4: Put Your Best Foot Forward.  Provide lots of shoes with different tread patterns.  Ask the students to try on the shoes and try on different surfaces such as tile and carpet.  Ask them to predict and record which surfaces are the easiest or hardest to walk with and which had the best or least traction.  Ask them to be able to justify answers. 

  • Center 5: Keep Your Bearings in Mind.  Demonstrate paint can with marbles on the lid.  Use book on top to rotate the book around the paint can.  Use different amounts of marbles to experiment which moves easier.  Ask students to predict and discuss results.

  • Center 6: Go Web Walking.  Look up on Internet, World Book on computer, or other reference sources information on friction. 
Language arts connection:  
  • After the student center time each day, allow time for large and/or small group reflection discussion.  To connect with language arts,  allow students to write experiences in a journal or some other form of written communication.
  • Read and discuss The Real McCoy by Towle. Discuss figures of speech. Have students use figures of speech in their writing. 
Language arts activity:  
  • Read and discuss chapter two of The Littles and the Trash Tinies.  This chapter involves momentum.  This chapter describes a dangerous experiment in which two opposing forces collide. The cat and mouse chase demonstrates momentum, potential and kinetic energy. 
  • After reading this chapter, you may wish to have students create a talk show skit in which one person plays the cat while another plays the mouse.  The talk show host will attempt to help these opposing parties work out their differences. 
  • After reading chapter 3, ask the students to write a friendly letter to Mrs. Little explaining why she must allow her husband, son, and daughter to go on such a dangerous mission. 
Social studies connection: 
  • Have students read about archeological digs (chapter three). 
  • Ask the students to research the role community landfills can play in allowing archeologists to study past civilizations. 
  • You may wish to create a dig site for your students to excavate.  Have the students record what they found and how deep it was buried.  Looking at another culture's trash can tell you a lot about them. 
  • When they are finished with their dig, your students may wish to help to set up a site for the following year. 
  Day 4 
Objective:  To provide activities to expand concepts about gravity and inertia.  

Materials:  pendulum, various objects- hammer, feather, World Book CD, scales, balls of various sizes and masses  

Large group science activity:  

  • The teacher provides a large group discussion about gravity and inertia. 
  • The teacher demonstrates with two balls of different sizes and masses that gravity pulls on all objects at the same rate regardless of mass. 
  • Have students predict what they believe will happen when you drop these two objects at the same time. 
  • Explain to the students that in the 17th century a man named Galileo conducted a series of experiments to determine how gravity affects objects. 
  • Tell how he dropped cannon balls as well as other objects off the Leaning Tower of Pisa to see if gravity pulls more on objects that have a greater mass. 
  • Show and discuss a  pendulum demonstrating the relationship between gravity and inertia. 
Cooperative group science activity:  
  • The teacher explains and demonstrates cooperation in a group activity in order for the groups to explore processes on their own. 

  • Don't Drop the Ball 
    • Allow students to work in pairs to explore how gravity pulls things back toward earth. 
    • Encourage them to use their science journal to predict and record falling rates of different objects that have different masses. 
    • Encourage students to experiment with objects of different shapes and the same mass (such as a flat and crumpled piece of paper). 
    • Ask them if an objects shape would impact the rate at which it falls?  (air resistance) 
    • At this activity, you may wish to show footage of the Apollo mission in which the astronauts dropped a hammer and a feather.
  • Weight a Minute 
    • Have students use the information located by their peers to determine what their weight would be on each of the nine planets in our solar system. 
    • Provide students with an example of how you want them to organize their information.  It may be helpful to have students practice these computational skills ahead of time with all of the students determining the weight of the same object for each of the planets. This will allow them to compare with their classmates. 
    • Tell the students that you have heard that if you want to lose weight, go to the moon.  Ask them why this could hold true. 
  • All Things Being Equal
    • Demonstrate that in order to make our scales balance there must be the same amount of mass on both sides of the scales. 
    • Have students determine the mass of a variety of items used by the Littles.  Encourage them to record their information so that it is similar to an algebraic equation (two pencils = 35 grams). 
    • You may wish to remind them that the mass of these objects will remain constant regardless of where they are, although the weight may change. 
Technology connection:  
  • Look up gravitational pull on the Internet or CD encyclopedia. 
  • Ask students to determine the relationship of gravitational pull on the different planets as compared to earth's pull. 
  • Explain that mass is the measure of the amount of matter in an object while weight is the measure of the force (due to gravity) that is acting on an object.  While an object's mass will stay the same from planet to planet, its weight will change based on the gravitational pull of the celestial body. 
Math connection:  
  • Ask students to divide into cooperative groups in order to determine how much each student would weigh on each planet. 
  • Provide scales so that each student can weigh himself or herself.  Students will be using computational skills to determine the weights. 
Language arts connections:  
  • Ask each student to write a paragraph entitled, "What is Gravity?"
  • Books that use a lever are Katy and the Big Snow and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, both by Virginia Lee Burton.  Read and discuss the books and use of the lever in each book. 
Language arts activity:   
  • Read and discuss chapter three of The Littles and Trash Tinies.  This chapter involves transportation items using the wheel and axle, and problem solving.
  Day 5 
Objective:  To provide activities to expand concepts about force and work.  

Materials:  nonfiction books, broom, assorted items such as empty cans, milk cartons, magnets, string, cardboard, rubber bands, cans, straws, ruler, crayons, recording sheets  

Large group science activity:   

  • Discuss the terms force and work. 
  • Ask students to tell what happened when they were swinging on the playground. 
Language arts connections:   
  • Provide varied nonfiction books to conduct research and write reports on force and work.
  • Read and discuss chapter four of the novel. This chapter used an inclined plane to climb a garbage can. 
  • Review uses of the inclined plane. 
  • Ask the students to create a ladder for someone who is three inches tall (two popsicle sticks and a few toothpicks). 
  • When Jack climbed the magic beanstalk, he found a singing harp.  Have students describe what will happen when they climb the Littles' ladder. 

  • Push Me, Pull Me 
    • Challenge students to use the materials they have been given to move an empty can from one end of a ruler to the other end without touching the can. 
    • Provide ample time for students to formulate a hypothesis, develop a plan, and execute it.
    • Provide time for students to share their ideas and record them on the class chart. 
    • Explain that in order to move their can they had to exert some kind of force.   Ask students what they think a force is (any push or pull). 
  • Skits
    • Ask students to work in cooperative groups to create skits demonstrating the principles of force and work. 
    • Enact the skits for the class. 
Physical education activity:  
  • Have relay races to demonstrate force and work.  Suggestions for varied relay races are three-legged races and potato sack races. 
  • Using a broom to push and pull an item in a relay race could be named, "The Clean Sweep." 
  • Discuss the concepts of force and work as they relate to the relay races. 
Other Instructional Activities
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
 This integrated unit was prepared by teachers of the:
Henry County Public Schools
396 Tomlinson Street
McDonough, Georgia 30253
Phone:  770/957-6601
 Updated 7/28/98