Force and Motion for Teachers of Grades 6-8
Published in 2011, this comprehensive professional development course for grades 6–8 science teachers provides all the necessary ingredients for building a scientific way of thinking in teachers and students, focusing on science content, inquiry, and literacy.
Session 1: Motion
Motion can feel easy to notice, yet difficult to describe, especially in science-y ways. To talk about motion requires being able to say precisely where an object is located, how far it has gone, and how fast it’s moving, and in what direction. Surprisingly, that’s not always easy! This session clarifies the tricky differences between speed and velocity, distance and displacement, and position and reference point.
Session 2: Change in Motion
The word acceleration is part of our everyday vocabulary, but like many terms we use day-to-day, it’s a slippery word. When you hear it, you are likely to think of something speeding up, like a swanky car going from zero to 60 in 6 seconds. As you will discover in this session, acceleration is much, much more.
Session 3: Acceleration & Force
Newton’s First Law of motion sounds simple — any acceleration requires a force, and unbalanced forces result in acceleration — but the truth is in the details, and the truth is it’s not always straightforward. This session explores what it means to apply a constant force versus an impulse force, and how balanced and unbalanced forces do and do not affect an objects motion.
Session 4: Force
Forces exist everywhere and affect nearly everything we do, but they are often easy to forget and hard to identify. The term force is itself difficult to define. This session tackles Newton’s Third Law of Motion — for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction — and solidifies the concept of force interactions.
Session 5: Acceleration & Mass
We intuitively know that heavy objects are harder to push than light objects. But does a bowling ball fall faster than a baseball? Or the other way around? Or neither? Newton's Second Law of Motion — the amount of acceleration depends on the mass of the object and the net force(s) acting on the object — sounds easy enough, but this session explores the complex relationship between acceleration and mass.
FORCE & MOTION COURSE OVERVIEW (PDF)
Download a printable version of the session-by-session course overview.
FORCE & MOTION ERRATA
As errors and omissions are found in course materials, errata sheets are created to correct them.