Science Shorts: Energy in Motionby: Barbara Adams

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

Children experience forces at work while on the playground, in gymnasiums, and in toy stores. Scooters, baseball bats, basketballs, and jump ropes all need pushes or pulls to make them move. When objects change shape as they are pushed or pulled, we say they deform. If the object returns to its original shape when the force is removed, we describe the material as elastic. A rubber band, a balloon, and a spring are all elastic. Objects that remain distorted, such as modeling clay, are often categorized as plastic. Wherever there is motion, energy is always involved. What causes objects to move? This month’s Science Shorts helps students explore the concepts relating to force and motion.

  • Elementary
Publication Date

Community ActivitySaved in 1198 Libraries

Reviews (3)
  • on Sun May 03, 2015 6:48 AM

Good inspiration for introducing the basic concepts of forces and motion to young children, but even older children could clear up some misunderstandings from these experiences.

Robin Willig  (Rye Brook, NY)
Robin Willig (Rye Brook, NY)

  • on Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:33 AM

This excellent article contains an interesting activity in which students measure how far a rubber band has stretched when using it to lift a container. The lesson is written for young students so it uses connected cubes to measure the elasticity of the rubber bands.. This activity is in depth inquiry at an early age.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:00 PM

This article provides a series of activities to help very young elementary children to the concepts of force and motion, Newton’s first law and the idea of equal forces. Students are asked to describe different kinds of motion they might see in a playground. Using the basic definition of force – a push or a pull – children categorize a series of toys as either ones that can be pushed or pulled. These children predict what happens to a rubber band holding a cup when marbles are added. This activity can easily be scaled up to more complex activities but these serve as a foundation for young children to understand force.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

Free - NSTA Members

$1.29 - Nonmembers

Login or Create a Free Account to add this resource to your library.