Forces and Motion Newtons Laws 5E STEM Balloon Cars NGSS MS-PS2-1 MS-PS2-2

Grade Levels
6th - 12th, Homeschool
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5E NGSS Aligned Balloon Cars engages even the most apathetic students! Your students will remember this lesson forever! AND! It's very easy prep to make your job easy!

Or buy my bundle that includes all of my physics products NGSS Physics Resource Bundle

If you need a whole bundle of Physics Distance Learning Resources take a look at Distance Learning PS2.A PS2.B NGSS Forces & Motion Growing Bundle Google Ready

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)

Motion energy is properly called kinetic energy; it is proportional to the mass of the moving object and grows with the square of its speed. (MS-PS3-1)

A system of objects may also contain stored (potential) energy, depending on their relative positions. (MS-PS3-2)

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

The 5E’s

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.


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Total Pages
27 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
4 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system. Emphasis is on relative amounts of potential energy, not on calculations of potential energy. Examples of objects within systems interacting at varying distances could include: the Earth and either a roller coaster cart at varying positions on a hill or objects at varying heights on shelves, changing the direction/orientation of a magnet, and a balloon with static electrical charge being brought closer to a classmate’s hair. Examples of models could include representations, diagrams, pictures, and written descriptions of systems. Assessment is limited to two objects and electric, magnetic, and gravitational interactions.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object. Emphasis is on descriptive relationships between kinetic energy and mass separately from kinetic energy and speed. Examples could include riding a bicycle at different speeds, rolling different sizes of rocks downhill, and getting hit by a wiffle ball versus a tennis ball.


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