Our next unit in science is Force and Motion.
We will study the following key concepts over the next five weeks:
1. Forces can either be a push or a pull.
2. Pulls move the object towards the force.
3. Pushes move the object away from the force.
4. Forces are needed to make an object move, speed up, slow down or change direction.
5. Contact forces are forces that must come in contact with the object to act on it. Examples are kicking a ball, pushing a box, leaves blowing in the wind and, friction.
6. Non-contact forces are forces that do not need to touch the object to act on it. Examples are gravity, static electricity and magnetism.
7. Gravity is always a pull. (A common misconception is that gravity pushes things to the ground.)
8. Magnets can either attract or repel each other. Magnetic forces are strongest at the poles (ends) of the magnet.
9. Friction is a force that slows objects down and occurs when 2 surfaces touch.
10. The heavier an object is, the more force it takes to move that object.
11. The bigger the force, the bigger the change in motion (little force = little movement, big force = big movement)
We will conduct experiments to demonstrate the key concepts. By the end of the unit, students are expected to be able to apply the concepts they have learned and to interpret data from their experiments.
Sara released a toy car down a ramp and recorded the distance the toy car traveled on each surface.
Distance car traveled in cm
Which surface in the above experiment had the most friction?
Which had the least?
Answer: Tile floor
What does this experiment show?
Answer: Friction is a force that slows objects down.
Sue pushed the same toy car using different amounts of force and recorded her data.
Amount of Force
Distance car traveled in cm
What does Sue’s experiment show?
Answer: The bigger the force, the bigger the change in motion
Principle: Little force = little movement; Big force = big movement
You can help reinforce concepts we will learn in our Force and Motion unit in the following ways:
1. Check-out Force and Motion books from the children’s section of the library and read them together.
2. Find “teachable” moments at home to reinforce key concepts. (i.e. Which would take more force to move, a full box of Legos or an empty one? Why?)
3. Oftentimes, children ask “Why?” questions. As parents and teachers we can turn the tables on them. Ask your children, “Why?” Questions that promote thinking are critical parts of learning and the scientific method. For example, you can ask your child, “Why do you think that marker slid so easily across the table when you passed it to your sibling? Would it slide as easily on the carpet? Why not?”
4. Celebrate success! Even if your child gives you a wrong answer, praise his or her thinking and then point him or her in the right direction.
5. Instead of asking your child to tell you what he or she learned in science this week, ask him or her to teach you what he or she learned.
In addition, your child may want to revisit some of the websites and videos we explored in class:
Introduction to Laws of Motion:
Newton’s cradle animation:
Newton’s life story:
Bill Nye Force and Motion Video
Magic School Bus Plays Ball video (Friction)
Force, motion and Gravity (We only watch first 8 minutes)
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. (firstname.lastname@example.org)