This is a set of Engage, Explore and Evaluate activities for NGSS MS-PS-2-2 that have students work with the PhET simulation Motion and Forces.
ENGAGE AND EXPLORE Introduction to Forces (Intro to Forces)
The PhET is HTML5 so it should work on all browsers. I have used it on Chromebooks and PCs with my own students.
In this engage and explore students are given the opportunity to explore the PhET virtual lab to collect evidence to answer this question “What causes objects to move or stay still?”
Examples of Coaching Questions for this Explore
•What does each part of the model represent? (arrows, people, cart)
•How is the applied force represented in this simulation?
•What evidence from the simulation would support that claim? Or Why might you reject that claim?
I have done this activity in several different ways. One is as a teacher lead exploration with the simulation projected on the board and as a class we discuss how to set to the tug-o-war, make predictions,discuss the rationale for the predictions and then test and check the class predictions. When I do it this way I have students refer to a class set of the Introduction to Gravity handouts but record their answers and observations into their notebooks.
EXPLORE and EVALUATE Investigating Motion and Forces and Designing an Investigation (Forces and Motion)
In this explore students are given the opportunity to explore the PhET virtual lab to design investigations to study the relationship between mass, applied force and acceleration of objects. NOTE Friction is a variable that can be adjusted in this simulation, I developed the explorations for a friction-less environment, If students are having difficulty getting accurate results check that they have set the friction to ZERO.
I usually assign this activity in Google Classroom but have also provided a PDF handout with the directions for this activity.
Depending on the skills of your students and how much time you have for the lesson, you may want to only assign one of the two questions or each team. You can then have students compare results for experiments designed to test the same question and students can also report out their finding to the other half of the class. This is a great way to have students look at experimental design and to also practice communicating results.
Note this is ALSO AVAILABLE AS A PDF VERSION
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