To introduce unit and stimulate interest in simple machines.
playground equipment, chart paper and markers, cards for Win, Lose, or
terms on board to provide vocabulary base: gravity, friction, and
discuss as large group the meaning of each term.
class outside for whole group activity.
a few students to demonstrate gravity on the monkey bars.
to climb halfway across bars. Then, ask them to hang and let go of
what caused the students to drop to the ground.
students to the slide for a demonstration of friction.
predict if students would travel faster down the slide with or without
several students to go down the slide with and without the use of a towel.
difference and briefly discuss the use of friction.
the utility of gravity to enable the students to go down the slide.
students to the swings to demonstrate the concepts of force, work, and
the terms as the students demonstrate as they swing.
to class for a wrap up.
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.
as a group and write the group responses on chart paper.
conceptual terms for a word bank. Include gravity, inertia, force,
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.
students into cooperative groups.
to list other examples of demonstrating gravity, inertia, force, and friction.
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
book, The Littles and the Trash Tinies by John Peterson uses
many of the simple machines.
the book and read the first chapter. In the first chapter, the Littles
made a fruitcake using kitchen utensils.
the simple machines demonstrated in these kitchen utensils.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have students read about archeological
digs (chapter three).
Ask the students to research
the role community landfills can play in allowing archeologists to study
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
To provide activities to expand concepts about gravity and inertia.
pendulum, various objects- hammer, feather, World Book CD, scales, balls
of various sizes and masses
group science activity:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Read and discuss chapter three
of The Littles and Trash Tinies. This chapter involves
transportation items using the wheel and axle, and problem solving.
To provide activities to expand concepts about force and work.
nonfiction books, broom, assorted items such as empty cans,
milk cartons, magnets, string, cardboard, rubber bands, cans, straws, ruler,
crayons, recording sheets
group science activity:
Discuss the terms force and
Ask students to tell what happened
when they were swinging on the playground.
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
Ask the students to create a
ladder for someone who is three inches tall (two popsicle sticks and a
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).
Ask students to work in cooperative
groups to create skits demonstrating the principles of force and work.
Enact the skits for the class.
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.