Lesson Objectives

  • Describe motion
  • Define force (in terms of push and pull)
  • Explain the relationship between force and motion


Engage: Activate Prior Knowledge; Generate Interest

If possible, take students outside to the playground equipment. Tell the class that they are going to find out how many different ways they can move on the playground. You will record all the different movements they can make on the equipment.

Alternatively, students can explore different movements, such as pushing and pulling small objects in the classroom.

After students have practicing moving playground equipment and/or objects, ask them the following questions:

  • What happens when you push a swing?
  • What happens when you sit down on a see-saw?
  • What happens when you bounce a ball on the floor?

Have the students read Playground Motion. Note that this passage is also available as an e-book for practicing readers.


Ask: Which motions in the story were the same as your movements?

Ask students what questions they have about motion or force. Write a list of student- and teacher-generated questions on a board or chart paper for reference throughout the lesson.

Explore: Allowing Students to Experience Content

Students will complete the Hands-On Activity Cars in Motion.

Following the activity, regroup as a class and have each group present their findings. They should talk about:

  • how they chose to measure the distances,
  • their predictions and
  • their outcomes.

Explain: Firm Up Understanding; Allow Students to Explain What They Know

Display the glossary terms: force and motion, discuss the of these two words with students. Have them record them in their journals.

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Tell students that they are going to watch the video The Trouble with Force. Explain thatin this video, the animals learn that using force can make things move faster, but too much force can make things difficult to slow down.
After they have watched the video, ask students: When did the animals push? When did the animals pull?


Elaborate: Allow Students to Apply What They Know

Have students explore the “Pushing and Pulling” segment of the Fun-damental Making Things Move.


After they have had a chance to explore the fun-damental, ask students to think of pushing and pulling forces in their community. You can ask if they have ever seen a train engine pulling cars, or someone picking fruit.

Draw a T-chart on the board and see if students can come up with three examples of pushing and three examples of pulling.

Project Ideas: To help students apply their understanding of forces and motion, you may wish to have them complete some or all of the following projects. The time required to complete each project will vary; some may require students to work outside the classroom.

  • Does the weight of a toy car affect how far it can go? Students can try this out by toy cars of different weights setting them at the top of a ramp. When they let the vehicles go, they should measure the distance each one went. Have them complete three trial races and share their results.
  • Try out different shapes of paper airplanes. Can students make one that turns and twists as it moves through the air? Can they build an airplane that flies far?

Evaluate: Check for Understanding

Write the words push, pull, force, and motion on the board. Have students write or draw pictures to show what each word means

Tell students to imagine that they are going to compete in a skateboard or bicycle racecourse. Have them illustrate three ideas on how they could use force and motion to win the race. Ask students to use to show the forces in their pictures.

Have the students complete the selected response assessment for Force and Motion
Have the student complete the constructed response assessment for Force and Motion

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