Putting a Twist on Inquiryby: Andrew Kemp

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After studying linear motion and learning the basic concepts involved, (inertia, force and motion, friction), middle level students can apply their learning to nonlinear situations. Using toy tops is one way to teach students the basic concepts of nonlinear motion in a fun and engaging way. In this activity, students design, construct, and test tops, then present their designs to the rest of the class.

Grades
  • Middle
Publication Date
2/1/2005

Community ActivitySaved in 132 Libraries

Reviews (4)
  • on Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:51 PM

In light of the the NGSS, I have begun to revisit many of the articles and lesson plans I have used or planned to use in the past. The lesson plan in this article incorporates that the use of the engineering design process, along with scientific inquiry as students design working tops within a competitive setting. The only drawback to this lesson would be the supplies required to put it into action. I teach 5 sections of science with over 120 students total. This activity/lab could get quite costly, if I had to purchase the supplies on my own. I would recommend resourcing for supplies at dollar stores and even through recycling centers. I am considering trying this as class project near the end of school year when maybe we can take the tops outside to test them. If you have access to supplies, I would highly recommend this the suggestions in this article.

Susanne Hokkanen  (Orland Park, IL)
Susanne Hokkanen (Orland Park, IL)

  • on Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:28 PM

I have been looking at several articles and book chapters about force and motion. I am interested in putting together choices for students that are somewhat leveled (above expectation, on expectation, and below expectation) so students can be challenged. I like this article for its level of inquiry. Using tops is also of interest to students and a great way to appy motion topics to an everyday topic.

Susan German  (Hallsville, MO)
Susan German (Hallsville, MO)

  • on Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:59 PM

This is a great one for middle school. Kids this age love to build things, and like to be challenged. The activity also does a great job of encouraging teamwork and creativity. Also contains several good ideas for dealing with the management of the project. Allows students to present their original research.

Jennifer Rahn  (Delafield, WI)
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)

  • on Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:59 PM

This is a great one for middle school. Kids this age love to build things, and like to be challenged. The activity also does a great job of encouraging teamwork and creativity. Also contains several good ideas for dealing with the management of the project. Allows students to present their original research.

Jennifer Rahn  (Delafield, WI)
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)


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