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This one is called “What Goes Up Must Come Down”
Social Studies, Science
Title – What Goes Up
By – Alex Johnson-Jimenez
Subject – Science, Social Studies
Grade Level – 5th-6th Grade
NOTE: This is lesson 7 of the Colonization of Mars Thematic Unit.
Students will observe the principles of gravity and extend their understanding of the concept through experimentation.
Estimated Time: 60 minutes
On the board write, “If I dropped a baseball and a marble, which one would hit the ground first and why?” Total time: 5 min.
1.After the timer goes off, ask the students to voice their thoughts on the question. Do not tell them if they are right or wrong, but demonstrate and let them decide how right or wrong they are. Stand on a chair and tell them that you are all going to find out which will hit the ground first, the baseball or the marble. Holding the objects about shoulder high, drop them. Ask students if one hit the ground before the other or if they hit the ground at the same time. After hearing several answers, repeat the experiment so that they can see that they both hit the ground at the same time. Total time: 3 min.
2.Pass the objects around and ask students, “that was kind of odd don’t you think? I mean the baseball is heavier than the marble; isn’t it?” Students will confirm that that is the case. Pretend to ponder this and say, “I think we need to experiment and see if this happens with other objects.”
3.Hand out the data collection sheet and read the directions aloud as they read silently.
4.Check for understanding.
5.Answer any questions that they may have.
6.Allocate approximately 10 min for the experiment. Total time: 10 min.
7.After the experiment is over, have students report if their predictions were correct or otherwise. Ask them to look at their experiment and see if they could identify why some objects hit the ground before others. Example, the unfolded sheet of paper will the ground much later than the Ping-Pong ball, but once the sheet of paper is crumpled into a ball, they both hit the ground at the same time. Ask why this might happen. Steer the discussion in the direction that while weight may not affect the rate at which objects fall, shape certainly does. Ask the students to explain why this might occur.
8.Ask, “does gravity change?” Answer them carefully, but explain that gravity remains constant. Ask, “when the wind is blowing really hard, what’s the easiest way to walk into the wind? Do you bundle up (demonstrate wrapping yourself up and hunching down as you move forward) or do you spread your arms wide and try to walk into the wind? Which will make it easier more me to move?” Take answers. They will mention that if you huddle up and hunch over that it will be easier to walk than if you spread your arms out. Ask them to explain and you will get answers such as; when you spread your arms out, the wind hits more of you-like a kite and makes it harder to walk. Agree. Hold up a crumpled piece of paper and an unfolded sheet and ask, “pretend that this piece of paper is a person. Which one of these will make it to the ground more easily?” The crumpled one because there is less air hitting it. Total time: 10 min.
9.”Why is it important to know about gravity?” Take answers and write them on the board. Explain that gravity helps us move, float, fly, and grow plants. Ask them to recall from the video why scientists believe that plants need gravity. Explain that understanding how much gravity has will determine how we work, travel, and grow plants. Total time: 5 min.
10.Check for questions and assign the journal topic, “How does gravity affect my everyday life? How would it be different if there was no gravity?”
11.State, the rest of the time is for you to work on your NASA research project.
Walk throughout the classroom observing and answering questions. Assess the accuracy of their work and following of directions, ability to think critically, and contribution to the group.
Answer the topic question and add three more words to their private word list and defining them in their own words.