Summary: The Physics Unit will take approximately 4 weeks (1 week per subsection below). Students will have hands-on experiences with basic concepts of physics, such as motion, force, work, energy and machines.


Forces And Motion (Motion, Force Changes Motion, Gravity) and Changing Motion (Forces Affects Motion, Forces Affect Acceleration, Friction Affects Motion)

Work And Energy (Work, Forms Of Energy, Energy Changes)

Simple Machines (Levers, Load and Forces, Wheels and Axles, Pulleys, Inclined Plane)

Lasting Ideas & Results:

Physics is the foundation of all the sciences, and students need to understand the basics in order to understand the world. An object's motion can be described by tracking and measuring its position over time, and these positions/motions can change by pushing or pulling. Many forces act on motion, and work is done when a force is used to move an object. Energy is the ability to do work. Learning these concepts is essential to understanding how things work and move.


Essential Question(s):

Why do things move? How can you tell if something has moved? What is gravity? What is speed and how is it different from velocity? How can a force affect motion? How are energy and work are related? How many forms of energy are there? What type of energy does the sun produce? How is energy transformed? Why do sidewalk curbs have ramps? How is a simple machine different from other machines? What simple machine would help you move a heavy load? Which would be easier, walking up a gradual ramp or a steep ramp? Why?

Desired Learner Outcomes: Enter the skills and knowledge students will acquire through the learning activities in this lesson.

Students will be able to...
Students will know...
Explain how motion, speed/velocity, and acceleration are related
Summarize the forces that act on a moving object; gravity, friction
Demonstrate a basic understanding of how forces affect motion
Explain how friction affects motion
Define work and energy
Compare and contrast potential and kinetic energy
Identify different forms of energy and give examples of each
Identify different kinds of simple machines and their uses
Explain how simple machines work together to make compound machines
Motion occurs when an object changes position. Speed is how fast it is moving, while velocity describes its speed and direction. acceleration is a change in speed or direction. Many forces, such as gravity and friction, act on moving objects.
Unbalanced forces change the speed or direction of an object.
Friction works against motion.
Work is done when a force is used to move an object a certain distance and energy is the ability to do work. Potential energy is stored, while kinetic energy is the energy of motion.
Chemical energy, electrical energy, light energy, mechanical energy, thermal energy and nuclear energy are different forms of energy.
Simple machines make it easier to do a task. Levers, wheels and axles, inclined plans, wedges and screws are the six kind of machines, and they each have different uses.
Two or more simple machines form a compound machine, like a bicycle.


5.1 Scientific Process: A. Habits of Mind; B. Inquiry and Problem-Solving; C. Safety 5.3 Mathematical Applications A.Numerical Operations; B. Geometry&Measurement; C. Patterns and Algebra; D.Data Analysis and Probability 5.7 Physical Science: A. Motion and Forces; B. Energy

Daily Engagement Activities:

Outline the activities students will complete on a day-to-day basis.

Lesson Number Lesson Day
Description of Activities
******* Note: This section includes a very brief description of our daily activities. Please see Procedures below for full plan of activities.
Day 1 10/19 Introduction to Unit, Position, Speed and Velocity
Day 2 10/20 Force, Acceleration, Inertia, Friction (Friction and Inertia Lab)
Day 310/21 Friction and Inertia Lab 2: How Forces and Friction Affect Motion
Day 410/22 How Forces Affect Acceleration and Friction
Day 510/23 Review, Assessment 1 and Force Diagrams
Day 610/26Potential and Kinetic Energy
Days 7-810/27 and 10/28 Roller Coaster Web Quest
Days 8-1010/28-10/30 Types of Energy, Transforming and Transferring Energy
Days 11-1311/2-11/4 Review, Remediation and Assessment
Days 14-1711/9-13Simple and Compound Machines
Day 18
Day 19

Summative Assessment(s): Use this table to describe tools/data that will demonstrate students' increased understanding and ability. You may wish to reference the specific learner outcome being measured by each type of assessment.
Describe Performance Tasks
Explain &/or Reference Criteria
Inquiry Lab Sheets Lab Rubrics
Quiz for each subunitAnswer Key
Roller Coaster ModelResponse Rubric
Forms of Energy PosterRubric
Physics TestAnswer Key/Response Rubric
Additional Formative Assessments Listed Daily

Pre-Requisite Knowledge & Skills:
Students will have varied background knowledge of this unit, and don't require any specialized prerequisite knowledge or skills. Ability to use a ruler and a calculator would be greatly beneficial, but can be re-modeled and practiced throughout the unit. Students have previous exposure to this unit, so I hope to build on their prior knowledge.


Daily Procedure/Routine When students enter the classroom, they will immediately take out the previous night's homework for me to check, copy down tonight's homework, take out the question of the day sheet, and work on the question of the day while I check them in. We will then go over the question of the day (QOTD) and the previous night's homework. Another daily procedure in the classroom is that students are chosen randomly using popsicle sticks with their names on them to read or help with a lesson.

Day 1
Do Now: QOTD (on white boards): Why do things move?

To activate prior knowledge of unit, ask students to answer the following questions in small self-selected groups: What causes things to move? How is work related to energy? What are simple machines, and why would you use them? Share out responses before beginning study of unit. Next, read and discuss pages 484-485 in textbook. Create vocabulary guide for chapter. Then, do quick lab of students measuring a 10-meter distance in the hallway, then timing and running that distance. Return to classroom and model and practice the calculation of speed in meters per second. (Daily Assessment: teacher observation)

Day 2

Copy homework (WB 224) Do Now: Buckle Down Activity 1.

Review Do Now. Watch "Forces and Motion" and "Inertia" Study Jams. Read and discuss pages 486-488 in textbook and continue vocabulary guide for force, acceleration, inertia, friction and gravity. Model drawing force diagrams to show all the forces acting on an object. Have students draw a picture of themselves sitting in their chair as a force diagram (force of their weight pushing down and the force of gravity pushing up). Next, complete Inertia and Friction Lab by providing each student with a marble, a cup, and the Inertia and Friction Lab inquiry sheet. (Daily Assessment: teacher observation and lab sheet)

Day 3

Copy Homework (WB 225-226). QOTD (on white boards): Where will you run the fastest, on concrete or on sand? Why?

Review Do Now and homework. Using inquiry lab sheets, complete Friction and Inertia Lab 2 in small groups using Matchbox cars, rulers and stop watches. Students will predict and test the speed of cars on table, floor and carpet. Model using division to solve for speed with a calculator (Speed is distance divided by time). Students will then take their timed data, calculate the speed of the cars, and use it to answer the results and conclusions questions. Discuss results and conclusions and apply findings to concepts of friction and inertia. Read and discuss pages 494-495 and model note-taking. (Daily Assessment: teacher observation and lab sheet)

Day 4

Copy homework (WB 230). Buckle Down Activity 2.

Review Do Now and homework. Watch BrainPop on force and acceleration. Model how forces affect acceleration by pushing cart and having a student push the cart. Why did the cart go faster when I pushed it? Model concepts of how mass affects inertia and acceleration through demonstrations such as pushing a textbook and a pencil. Do quick lab on page 498 of textbook (pulling books). Read and discuss pages 495-496, and watch video of pictures from book. (Daily Assessment: Force diagrams and teacher observation)

Day 5

Do Now: Page 499 #1,2,4,5.

Review Do Now and Homework. Review vocabulary for quiz. Administer quiz. Review drawing force diagrams and practice drawing forces for different situations (sitting down, various push/pulls, standing up, pushing a cart, etc.). Model using calculators to determine speed and acceleration.

Day 6

Copy homework (WB 236) QOTD: How are energy and work related?

Watch StudyJams on work and energy. Complete inquiry activity on page 503 of textbook to relate position and force. Then, read and discuss pages 504-5 about potential and kinetic energy, relating what is read to the lab completed. Using projector, demonstrate to explore potential and kinetic energy and introduce WebQuest done the following day. (Daily Asessment: Teacher Observation)

Day 7 [NOTE: Added an extra day for Webquest since students needed additional time. Added activities: Watched Eureka: Kinetic and Potential Energy episodes. Discussed successes and failures of roller coaster and how energy and forces act to make them move]

Copy homework (What is work? roller coaster page). QOTD: What does it mean when a teacher says you have potential?

Watch BrainPop on Potential and Kinetic Energy. Then, take students to computer lab to complete Roller Coaster WebQuest ( In this WebQuest, students will read about potential and kinetic energy in roller coasters and their history and design. With a partner, students will then design and test roller coasters, printing out a drawing of their successful, favorite design. (Daily Assessment: Teacher observation and Webquest results).

Day 8 [started Chemical and Electrical at end of Day 7, but extended to Day 9 -- Viewed websites in addition to PowerPoint]

Copy homework (WB 237). QOTD: Electricity is one form of energy. How many others can you think of?

Watch BrainPop on Forms of Energy. Read and discuss pages 506-507. Watch PowerPoint on Chemical, Electrical and Light Energy. Students will take notes on each type of energy using handout note-taking guide. Students will begin to create energy poster, with definitions and examples of each type of energy, and a page for transforming and transferring energy. (Daily Assessment: Teacher observation, poster)

Day 9 [SEE note above about schedule change]

Copy homework (Finish poster). QOTD: What are some examples of light, chemical or electrical energy?

Read and discuss page 508. Watch portion of PowerPoint on Mechanical, Thermal and Nuclear Energy, and on Transforming and Transferring Energy. Students will take notes on each type of energy and changes in energy. Students will continue and complete energy poster. (Daily Assessment: Teacher observation, poster)

Day 10 [NOTE: Pushing this back for Forces and Motion remediation]

QOTD: How many simple machines can you remember?

Watch Brainpops on each type of simple machines. Research types of simple machines around the house and school by visiting , and on projector and recording notes in graphic organizer. Introduce project: designing a simple machine and distribute rubric. (Daily Assessment: Teacher observation and graphic organizer)

Day 11

Do Now: Finish energy poster (students need about 10 minutes). Pull students out for small group Forces, Motion and Energy reteach/review while other students explore forces, motion and energy through an amusement park mystery: Small group review/reteach will be based on quiz results. Meet with students who don't understand friction using toy cars on table and floor and ask why the car moves faster and farther on table than floor, then discuss definition of friction and how it works. Meet with students who don't understand inertia using a spinning marble in a glass (why does it keep spinning after you stop spinning the glass), then discuss other examples about why things keep still or keep moving. Meet with students who don't understand acceleration to review how it relates to speed and direction using running as an example and graph on laptop. Meet with students who don't understand potential and kinetic energy using model roller coaster to reinforce concepts from roller coaster webquest. (Daily Assessment: teacher observation and ParkWorldPlot quiz score)

Day 12

Do Now: Review your Physics vocabulary words. Copy homework (study for quiz). Students will rotate through Force and Motion Centers (4 students per group, 15 minutes per center). Before sending students to centers, model each center procedure and rotation schedule, and distribute center recording sheet (with results/conclusion questions for lab centers). Center 1: Hands on assessment/clarification with Mrs. Greenberg. Center 2: Marble Motion (students will describe and compare motion and forces on a marble and a baseball rolling on a tray). Center 3: Friction (students will measure the distance traveled by a wood block on wax paper, foil, plastic wrap and sandpaper). Center 4: Kinetic/Potential Energy and Force/Friction review on laptop ( and (Forces in Action and Friction). If necessary to continue small group remediation began on Day 11: group students based on quiz/lab/webquest results for centers and use Center 1 time to continue review/reteach (Daily Assessment: Center Lab Sheets; Hands-on Rubric).

Day 13 (Half Day Schedule)
Short period: no Do Now. Students will take quiz on Forces, Motion and Energy and watch Magic School Bus Gets Energized to extend concepts of study of energy. (Daily Assessment: Quiz and discussion)

Days 14 and 15 (Placed together into 2 days because, depending on student interest and prior understanding, some simple machines may take more or less time than others)

Copy homework: Day 1: What levers, wheels and axles and pulleys do you see around your house? Day 2: What inclined planes do you see around your house? QOTD (Day 1): How many simple machines can you remember? QOTD (Day 2): How does a doorknob do work?

Introduce new topic of simple machines by distributing graphic organizer to guide student notes and thinking. Then, watch PowerPoint on what machines are and how they do work (,8,How do machines make work easier?).

Watch Brainpop on Levers. Experience more about levers by visiting Then, shared reading and discussion of levers in textbook pages 514-515.

Watch Brainpop on Wheels and Axles. Experience more about wheels and axles by visiting Then, shared reading and discussion of wheels and axles in textbook page 516.

Watch Brainpop on Pulleys. Experience more about pulleys by visiting and,23,Describe PULLEYS. Then, shared reading and discussion of pulleys in textbook pages 516-517.

Watch Brainpop on Inclined Planes. Experience more about inclined planes by visiting Students will do quick lab of how screws are inclined planes by wrapping a right triangle around their pencil. Then, shared reading and discussion of page 518-519. (Daily Assessment: teacher observation and graphic organizer)

Day 16

Take students to the computer lab to experience simple machines around the house and assess understanding of simple machines by visiting . When students complete simple machine assessment, they will visit the Tool Shed area of the edheads site to introduce compound machines. (Daily Assessment: edheads score sheet for each area of the house)

Day 17
Copy homework: Invent your own compound machine; study for test. Do Now: How do simple machines work together?

Quick review of simple machines. Shared reading and discussion of page 520 in textbook to study compound machines. Visit machine.html and PowerPoint to continue study of compound machines. Students will continue work on graphic organizer. (Daily Assessment: Teacher observation and graphic organizer)

Day 18

Copy homework: Study for test tomorrow. Do Now: Take out your compound machine.

Share compound machine inventions. To review for test, watch PowerPoint on Force and Motion Review. Then, students will complete review on pages 524 and 525 of textbook. Finally, play Jeopardy and Hollywood Squares to review for test ( (Daily Assessment: Teacher observation)

Day 19

Do Now: Review notes for test.

Students will take end-of-unit assessment, which is a combination of hands-on and written responses. Students will rotate through testing centers. If time at end of period, begin Energy Unit. (Daily Assessment: end of unit assessment)


Study Jams and BrainPop subscriptions

LCD projector

lab materials (listed on each lab sheet)

Textbook: MacMillan/McGraw Hill Science: A Closer Look (2008)

Modifications, Adaptations, & Accommodations:

Differentiation strategies: dynamic grouping, differentiation for learning styles (kinesthetic, auditory, etc.), choice given during projects and review, demonstrations prior to group labs

Modifications: small group and individual support during labs, grouping students both heterogeneously and homogeneously depending on the activity, extension activities provided where appropriate


Day 5 pushed to Day 6, and Day 5 changed to assessment, force diagrams and extension. The Roller Coaster Webquest took longer than expected, so it was extended 1 day. I also added some additional lesson review to make sure students understand kinetic and potential energy. I have made notes in my plans above showing the changes. Also, when I started teaching the forms of energy, I wanted to provide students with additional information sources to help them understand (at a basic level) the different forms of energy. I was afraid the PowerPoint made things too simple and didn't give enough detail. So, I found web sites with audio and visual information about each form of energy to show on the projector and provided students a list of sites (on a printed label) to visit at home or when we go to the computer lab. Also, with the extension of the lesson, a third day was added to make sure students had a better grasp on the different forms of energy and their transformation.

This week, students finished making up the Forces and Motions Quiz. Several students need help understanding these concepts, so I will add additional opportunities for review and reteaching the following week and push back our study of simple machines.

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