STCMS™: Energy, Forces, and Motion

STCMS™: Energy, Forces, and Motion

It's time to get a move on! Motion is part of our daily lives-riding in a car, playing a sport, even dropping a coin. The Smithsonian Science Education Center presents Energy, Forces, and Motion, an STCMS™ curriculum unit designed from the ground up to align to the Next Generation Science Standards. Science and engineering practices, teachable core ideas, and crosscutting concepts are integrated into every lesson. The unit relates Newtonian physics to objects that roll, fall, and collide. Join us as we plan investigations and design solutions to explore energy, forces, and motion!


Blackline Masters

You can find all Blackline Masters here. For teacher Lesson Masters and unit Written Assessments, go to Carolina Science Online. 

Extension Activities

Lesson 1- Pre- Assessment: Let's Get Moving!

Teacher's will find this to be a useful resources on common misconceptions from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Lesson 2- Force, Velocity, and Acceleration

Social Studies/Art
Have students research the history of the development of American cars and discuss which features have changed over time and which ones have remained consistent. Students can start their research at The American Museum of Natural History.
NGSS:  (Supports MS-ETS1-2)
Common Core: ( RST.6-8.7, RST6-8.10)

Social Studies/Art
Ask students to synthesize the multimedia in this exhibition into a succinct timeline that represents major advances in transportation routes in the United States. Ask students to identify which of these events is most influential in their daily lives and why.  
NGSS:  (Supports MS-ETS1-2)
Common Core: ( RST.6-8.7, RST6-8.10)

Lesson 3- Magnetic Forces

Lesson Link

Ask students to read the following article: Outfitting Football Helmets with Magnets Could Reduce ConcussionsHave students provide a few sentences in response to the following questions:  What are some other areas where we could apply the technology featured in this article to also help minimize injuries due to collisions? Propose 2-4 other areas and why you think this technology could be useful for increasing health and safety. 
NGSS: (Supports ETS1.B)
Common Core: (W.6-8.2 )

Language Arts
Ask students to read the blog post: Mounting Photographs with Earth Magnets   from an intern at Smithsonian Archives and answer the following question: What was the author's purpose in writing this post? Use this as an opportunity to discuss with students the roles internships can play in college and career readiness. 
NGSS: (Supports ETS1-3)
Common Core:  (RST.6-8.6)

Lesson 4-Newton's First and Second Law

Lesson Link

Ask student to review the National Air and Space Museum's web page on the four forces of flight. Have students draw a diagram of a plane mid-flight and briefly describe each of the four forces using their own words.

Ask students to watch the following video: Falling 101 . Have students prepare a brief statement to answer the following question: Why do our everyday experiences lead us to misunderstand how gravity works?
NGSS: (Supports MS-PS2-4)
Common Core: (RST.6-8.9)

Lesson 5- Kinetic and Gravitational Potential Energy

Lesson Link

(This requires YouTube to be enabled)
Ask students to view the following video about animation from Pixar and ask them to describe the following: How do animators and artists use a viewer's frame of reference to give the appearance of motion?
NGSS: (Supports MS-ETS1-4)
Common Core: ( RST.6-8.9)

Ask students to review the content on space exploration provided by the National Air and Space Museum here  and develop a table illustrating the different methods we have for exploring space, examples of areas these methods have explored, and a sketch representing how these methods work. 
NGSS:  (Supports ETS1-3)
Common Core: (W.6-8.2.A)

Lesson 6- Newton's Third Law

Lesson Link
Ask students to review misconceptions about gravity in this episode of Good Thinking Following their viewing, ask students to ask 2-3 people who are not in their science class  "What falls faster, 1 ton of bricks or 1 ton of feathers?" and record the responses. In class, discuss the responses and ask the class to determine whether they uncovered any misconceptions. Prompt students to reflect upon why these misconceptions might be so prevalent. This activity will review and strengthen concepts from students who may have watched this video as part of an earlier extension. This is by design. 
NGSS: (Supports MS-PS2-4)
Common Core: (RST.6-8.9)

Challenge students to read the description of the Foucault Pendulum and, based on the text, draw a diagram of how they could set up their own pendulum. Description of Foucault Pendulum 
NGSS:  (Supports MS-PS3-2)
Common Core: (RST.6-8.7)

Lesson 7- Collisions

Ask students to use the game Bumper Ducks to examine a model of Newton's third law in action. Tell students this is one model for understanding Newton's third law and ask them where the model is effective and where it can be improved. 
NGSS: (Supports MS-PS2-1)
CCSS: (RST.6-8.9)

Technological Design
Ask students to draw an annotated diagram demonstrating how Newton's 3 laws can be  used to explain flight and space travel using Smithsonian's Air and Space website as support: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
NGSS: (Supports MS-PS2-1, MS-PS2-2)
Common Core: (RST.6-8.7, RST6-8.10)

Lesson 8- Transforming Energy 

Lesson Link
Ask students to read all the way through the online exhibit on auto safety found here: Auto Safety History - National Museum of American History. Ask students to convert the information found here into a timeline highlighting which 5 innovations they think were most important to car safety. 
NGSS: (supports MS-ETS1-3)
CCSS: (RST.6-8.9)

Engineering and Design
Ask students to locate the resources about driverless cars. Do you believe that driverless cars have the potential to reduce or eliminate car collisions? Why or why not? Use evidence found from your readings and read Will Driverless Cars Mean Less Roadkill?  
NGSS: (supports MS-ETS1-1)
CCSS: (RST.6-8.1)

Lesson 9- Assessment

Ask students to watch the following video: Falling 101 . Have students prepare a brief statement to answer the following question: Why do our everyday experiences lead misunderstandings around energy?
NGSS: (Supports MS-PS3-1)
Common Core: (RST.6-8.9)

Create several simple devices that you can use to demonstrate what you discovered about forces in this lesson. For example, you might investigate what a Rube Goldberg device is, and create and test one. You might produce a device using snap-together toys you have at your home. After you have tested and are satisfied with your designs, demonstrate your models to your family and friends and explain the concepts. Be ready to answer questions about what you did and the results you observed.
NGSS: (Supports MS-PS2-2, MS-PS3-5) 

Lesson Links

Pre-Assessment: Let's Get Moving

Huddlestone Arch

The Huddlestone Arch in Central Park was constructed without the use of mortor to keep it together.

Lesson 2- Force, Velocity, and Acceleration

The Four Forces

Have students draw a diagram of a plane mid-flight and briefly describe each of the four forces using their own words

Lesson 3- Magnetic Forces

Learning about Magnets, Electricity, and Acceleration at the Amusement Park

Learn about the physics of rollercoasters

Lesson 4Newton's First and Second Law

Frames of Reference

This interactive explores how apparent motion of an object depends on the observers frame of reference.

Lesson 5- Kinetic and Gravitational Potential Energy

What Is a Calorie?

Learn all about calories

Lesson 6- Newton's Third Law

Newton's Laws of Motion

Learn about Newton's third law of motion

Lesson 7- Collisions

When Galaxies Collide: The Fate of the Milky Way

We only have 4 billion years until we crash into the the Andromeda Galaxy.

All the Gold in the Universe Could Come from Collisions of Neutron Stars

Learn about a new theory on where gold and other heavy elements came from 

Lesson 8- Tranforming Energy

Exploring Solar Energy: The Science Behind Design

A lesson on Exploring Solar Energy from Cooper Hewitt

Powering a Generation of Change

The story of electrical power restructuring in North America

The Process of Invention

Learn about the process of invention

Lesson 9- Assessment

Science: A Work in Progress

Take a tour through the Wright brothers' workshop



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