5E NGSS Aligned Balloon Cars is easy prep and it engages even the most apathetic students!
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Balloon Cars has the following NGSS Standards:
Performance Expectations and Disciplinary Core Ideas
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.
• For any pair of interacting objects, the force exerted by the first object on the second object is equal in strength to the force that the second object exerts on the first, but in the opposite direction (Newton’s third law). (MS-PS2-1)
• The motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it; if the total force on the object is not zero, its motion will change. The greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion. (MS-PS2-2)
• All positions of objects and the directions of forces and motions must be described in an arbitrarily chosen reference frame and arbitrarily chosen units of size. In order to share information with other people, these choices must also be shared. (MS-PS2-2)
Science and Engineering Practices
Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Cross Cutting Concepts
Cause and Effect
Systems and System Models
ENGAGE: Using the YouTube clips I created with past classes is great at engaging students and it captures the students’ attention and interest. It also helps to get the students focused on the purpose of the lab and the content. Here are the YouTube clips:
EXPLORE #1: This is where the students have opportunities to resolve misconceptions of the engage section. This part gives students the hands-on experiences to demonstrate their knowledge of the engage phase. In this part they will conduct research and sketch their prototype like an engineer. In this part you will need to discuss parameters and rules (10 mins), Then do online research, discuss and agree on design, make sketches of parts and prototype, figure out who brings in what materials for the next class meeting (30 mins).
EXPLAIN: The scientific explanation for the physics behind the balloon car’s motion is the objective of this phase. The students should now have a clearer sense of the engage part and have higher comprehension of the concepts. They can do this by watching YouTube clips that explain the scientific principles behind Newton’s Laws of Motion or read online resources.
EXPLORE #2: This is where the students have opportunity to learn through building, testing, revising, brainstorming, remodeling and evaluating their prototype like engineers do. This exploration phase provides a concrete, hands-on experience where students use data to clarify the misconceptions of the engage phase.
ELABORATE/EVALUATE: Sometimes this phase is called Extend, but in this case Elaborate is more appropriate. This is where scientific concepts and abilities are extended, expanded and enriched. They will do this by applying the concepts and vocabulary to the motion of their balloon cars. I will then use this section to also EVALUATE and assess what they’ve learned and what they still need to learn through the questions, the diagram, feedback and class discussions.
MORE USEFUL TIPS:
Day 1: Intro to Engineering Design process (5 mins), watch YouTube Video (10 mins), Work on Explore #1 and do online research, discuss and agree on design, make sketches of parts and prototype, figure out who brings in what materials (30 mins). Discuss parameters and rules (10 mins),
Day 2: Do Explain questions 1-6 (20 minutes). Explore #2, build, test, rebuild (1 hour 45 mins). Don’t be concerned if most cars don’t work at first, it’s all about the engineering design process, so it’s OK!
Day 3: Continue Explore #2 , discuss set backs, revisions, what works and what doesn’t work, Show these 3 videos , then have the races!!! (1 hour 45 mins).
Day 4: Elaborate, Evaluate and discuss. I like to highlight the cars that went the fastest and why they did using the vocabulary and the application of the vocabulary.
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