How can you take a simple activity and make it exciting? Use a big loud bowling ball! This fun and simple activity is designed for grades 4-8, science. Students at this level need to practice graphing skills and this activity lets them graph three separate lines as three separate graphs or as a single graph. You can tie the activity to Newton’s laws of motion and also discuss how friction is always present and arises as soon as an object begins to move.
Students act as timing data points along a 10.0 m track for a slow, medium and fast ball. I use a bowling ball for the enthusiasm students will have for the activity, but a basketball or soccer ball will also work. Working as a class, students calculate the average velocity or speed of the ball and then graph the data points to see that the ball does not have a constant speed.
This is a simple activity, without technology more complex than a stopwatch and meter sticks. The activity has been tested in several 6th grade classrooms.
• Data collection and analysis
• Graphing motion
• Cooperative Learning
• Reinforcement of difficult concepts
• Student handouts
• Follow up quiz with key
• Teacher Guide and script if needed
Keywords: physics, physical science, general science, lab, laboratory, experiment, speed, velocity, distance, time, acceleration, deceleration, meter, second, stopwatch, mechanics, kinematics, motion, average