Lesson Plan


Students explore basic concepts about gravity.
Kaitlyn S.
Pre-service teacher
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts, English Language Learning, Health & Wellness

Students will be able to express that gravity is an invisible pulling force that pulls things towards the object’s center, pulls across great distances and affects everything with mass, including Earth; the more mass an object has and the closer two objects are to each other, the stronger the gravitational pull.

Grades 4 - 5
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Pre-assessment/eliciting intial ideas

Activity: Assessing

"Before we begin our lesson today, we are going to get our brains thinking about space science. We know that it is important to see what we already know about a topic before we start our learning, and this is called eliciting our initial ideas. This is to see what YOU  know, so at this point please do not share any of your answers with your group members. Please complete the following task card now. 

(See task card #1)

Student Instructions

Complete task card #1 as a pre assessment to see how much each student already knows about gravity. Students will not be graded on this assignment, I just want them to tell me what they know. 

2 Hook/Attention Getter

Activity: Presenting

Hold up a pen and a book and ask students, “How can I make this pen stick to this book?”

“I am going to make it stick using an invisible force.” Turn book horizontal so that pen “sticks” to it. Show that it sticks to the table and the floor with the same invisible force.

“What is the invisible pulling force that I am talking about here?

“I love all the ideas that you have shared with me about gravity. We are really going to dive into gravity now!”

Student Instructions

Engage in a conversation about how you could make the pen stick to the book. 

Discuss some things that they know about gravity that relates to this little activity. 

3 Direct Instruction

Activity: Exploring

"There are a few definitions that we need to go over. As I talk about them and write the definitions on the board, please write the definitions down in your science notebook. 

Matter: the stuff that all objects are made of

Mass: how much matter an object has

Weight: a measure of the pull of gravity.

Gravity: an invisible pulling force. 

"“Every object that has mass has gravitational pull. The amount of gravity pulling objects together depends on two things: how much mass the objects have, and how far apart the objects are. The farther away objects are from each other, the less gravitational pull there is, but it never stops working. Gravity pulls over infinite distances.” Relate this to the book and pen demonstration. Talk about the pull of the Earth and the pen is stronger than the pull between the book and the pen. “If gravity pulls objects together, then why don’t the book and pen just stick to each other?”

"Because the mass and gravitational pull of Earth is so large that the pull between the book and the pen becomes insignificant."

“Now we are going to talk about gravity on different parts of the Earth. Has anyone traveled to a different part of the word?”

Engage in a discussion about gravity around the world. If you were standing on the bottom of the planet and dropped a rock, would it fall "down" into space, or would it fall to the Earth?

Student Instructions

Listen and write the definitions for matter, mass, weight, and gravity in science notebooks. 

Engage in discussion. 

Be able to explain that when we say something is "falling down" that it really means "falling towards the center" because Earth's gravity pulls things towards the center, and someone standing on the bottom of the planet would not feel like they were upside down. 

4 Guided Practice

Activity: Investigating

Lead an activity that shows why gravity makes the Earth form into a sphere shape. Put a globe in the center of the floor and tell students that gravity is pulling them towards it really really hard. One group at a time, ask them to form themselves around the globe so that they are as close to it as possible. Explain that Earth's gravity is incredibly strong and pulls objects towards its center. 

"Now work with the people in your small groups to complete task card #2"

See task card #2

“We are now going to do an activity in your small groups. I am going to ask, ‘Is gravity strong or weak?’ and you are going to discuss. The goal of this activity is to get you to think about gravity’s affect on Earth and space, and for you to use evidence to back up your thinking. I want your group to come up with evidence to show that gravity is strong, and evidence to back up the claim that evidence is weak.  You can use evidence from your background knowledge, from the video you just watched, and from the activities and discussions we just did."

Student Instructions

Participate in activity. Notice that a large circular blob of students is forming around the globe. Relate this to gravity and how all the objects in our solar system are spherical.


*Complete task card #2 in small groups. 


Engage in discussion about claims and evidence, and then come up with evidence as a group for the two claims given. (Gravity is strong, gravity is weak.) Come up with evidence to back up both sides of the argument. (Examples: gravity is strong because it hold's everything on Earth on the Earth's surface. gravity is weak because you can jump in the air.) Pull evidence from many different sources, including the video from the task card.

5 Independent Practice

Activity: Assessing

"Now that we are done with our lesson, I would like all of you to compete task card #3 individually."

See task card #3

Student Instructions

Complete task card #3

This will be used as a post assessment to see if the students got the lesson learning target. 

6 Wrap up

Activity: Conversing

"Thank you all so much for your hard work today. We are going to take the time now to review the questions you answered before the lesson. Let's see if any of our thinking changed or if we gained any new knowledge!"

Go over each of the questions from the mini quiz given during task card #1 and discuss the answers as a class. Talk about what we learned about gravity and how our initial ideas have changed.

Student Instructions

Engage in discussion.