Lesson Plan

Fun with Forces and Motion

Introduce your middle-schoolers to physics concepts with these great resources!
Kelly A.
Classroom teacher
Ladue Middle School
St. Louis, United States
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
Digitial Citizenship and EdTech Mentor

Students will be able to... (from Next Generation Science Standards for Middle Grades)

MS-PS2-1. Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.

MS-PS2-2. Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.

MS-PS2-4. Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects

Grades 6 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Preview and Connect

Free, Paid

Before your students dive into the physics simulators in this Lesson Flow, take some time to preview key concepts and vocabulary related to forces and motion. Quizlet is a great option for helping students introduce and practice new concepts - create a set of flashcards that helps students learn the meanings of each vocabulary word, or let your students take the driver’s seat and create their own cards with examples of each concept.


2 Learn and Apply

Coaster Crafter is a great tutorial game that teaches students how physics concepts are applied to roller coaster design. Your students will work through different challenges that apply specific concepts as they learn through trial-and-error. As students answer questions about physics vocabulary, they can unlock new elements to incorporate into their designs. This will apply some great reinforcement of your preview activity, and get students’ creative juices flowing for the more open-ended activities to come.


3 Practice

If you were an elementary school student in the 90’s, chances are you logged some serious hours playing The Incredible Machine. This game-plus-simulator has been reborn a Contraption Maker, and it’s a great resource for applying concepts in physics. Let your students test, evaluate, and re-test as they build their own contraptions to solve puzzles. Be sure to do a debriefing discussion after gameplay so that your students can connect the concepts they applied in Contraption Maker back to the key vocabulary and goals of the unit.


4 Extend

TinkerBox is another great combination game and simulator. The app has built-in scaffolding, with options for students to solve puzzles, invent and share their own machines, or alter inventions that have been posted by the community. This iPad app is a fantastic transition from your forces and motion unit into the topic of simple machines.