A Mystery in Motionby: Amy Choffin and Laura Johnston

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Third-grade students learn how motion detectors work.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (2)
  • on Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:12 PM

1. Investigation of force and motion can be difficult to incorporate into lessons in the elementary school classroom. This lesson is designed in a 5E format in which the students are engaged, exploring, explaining, elaborating, and evaluating different areas of the content that is being studied. The students begin by looking at different tools that scientists use to perform scientific investigations. It is important for students to see and understand that there are more than just “normal”/familiar tools that can be used to investigate and gather information. From there, the students have opportunity to interact with a motion sensor and begin gathering hypotheses as to why it works. While they were interacting with the sensor, they will also be viewing a graph that shows the relationship between their motion and the sensor. During the explore, the students will continue to interact with the motion sensor but now will use tools to further their predictions. The students will continue different motions to try to determine what the graph’s outcome will be. The explain portion really allows for the students to have discussions and begin to take ownership of their knowledge and predictions that they gathered from the previous activities. They also demonstrated their understanding by explaining how each graph’s pattern/data is related to the motion that was detected by the sensor. For elaboration, the students observed and analyzed the movement of a classmate while they were creating movement/gathering the data for the graph. As the student’s strengthen their knowledge about the relationship between the motion sensor and the graph, they were challenged to create different shapes to reflect their knowledge and “control” of the graph. As a final assessment, the students will turn in their workbooks and notes over the entirety of the lesson and experimentation. 2. I felt that this lesson would be extremely helpful and engaging for third grade students. They are able to interact with different scientific tools to greater understand how science as a whole works and specifically they will interact with motion sensors. I thought that this was interesting because motion sensors are a part of students’ everyday lives in the current world that we live in. This is something that they are able to observe often and their curiosity can be pulled on to motivate them throughout the lesson. I also liked that there was a lot of collaboration and peer interaction. I feel that peer learning is one of the most beneficial things in the classroom that a teacher can incorporate, and this lesson plan is an awesome example of a way to include that for the students.

Allyson Bailey
Allyson Bailey

  • on Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:03 PM

This article is written out in a 5E lesson plan format. I like that I could actually write out a lesson on motion if I needed too. Each section talks about how the teachers would direct the students and what the students are to do. This article is very in depth as to what you are doing in this lesson. I would love use this lesson in this format in my classroom when I get there. Teaching force and motion is one of my favorite things to teach and i would enjoy using this as a lesson.

Sandra Crum
Sandra Crum

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