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Investigating Forces

Investigating Forces


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About This Lesson

This unit introduces Grade 3 students to real-world examples and fundamental concepts of forces, which will be explored in greater depth in later grades. Students will learn about observable effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on an object’s motion, describe and predict patterns of repeating motion, and explore how forces are associated with cause-and-effect relationships.

The relationship between forces and motion becomes clearer when students understand the following:

  • A force is necessary to change an object’s motion.
  • If all the forces acting on an object are balanced, there will be no change in the motion of that object.
  • An object at rest is under the influence of balanced forces. For example, a ball on the ground is pulled down by the force of gravity and pushed up by the force of the ground.
  • Friction is a force that acts when surfaces are in contact.
  • Magnetism is a force that can act from a distance to push or pull.

Students also learn that engineers use their knowledge of forces as they develop solutions to problems and build things that are useful to people. As a series of culminating activities, students explore the principles and practices of engineering design, such as scientifically defining a problem to be solved using magnets and evaluating and optimizing their possible solutions.

Number of Lessons: 9

Instruction Time:

  • Each Lesson is designed to be completed in one 30–45-minute class period. Some lessons may take more than one class period.
  • Some single-day activities and performance tasks might require setting aside a longer block of time.
  • This Unit should be completed in 15 classroom days.
  • A Pacing Guide is provided within the Teacher Guide.
  • A complete list of Materials needed to complete the unit is provided in Online Resources.

Additional Search Terms:
force • motion • push • pull • balanced • unbalanced • gravity • predict/prediction • friction • lubricant • pattern • magnet/magnetism • problem • solution • test • nonfiction • informational text


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