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Lesson Plan

Forces in toys

After being introduced to the concept of force, students use playdough to show where forces are acting, then make a windmill.
Curriculum connection (2005 science topic): 
Physical Science: Force and Motion (grade 1)
Activities in this lesson plan: 

Introduce forces:
e.g. read: “Motion” by Rebecca Olien, p.5-7.
A force is a push or a pull. Forces makes things move. They change a direction or speed.
Demonstrate with a toy car and straw/connector to ask students exactly where the forces are acting (for the car: where the finger is pushing and the wheels on the surface).

Optional read: Forces make things move by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, p.6.

Activity: Forces in playdough

Activity: windmill.
Class discussion of where the forces are acting in the windmill. (Include the force of the breath out of the mouth, the force of the breath on the blades, the force of the blades on the pin).

Show Newton’s Balls toy. Discuss what forces are acting in detail. (Include the force on the wires, the force as you lift a ball, the force as the ball falls again (gravity), the force on the next ball as it hits, the forces moving between all the balls, the force that pushes the last ball up).

Read: Gravity by Ellen Sturm Niz, up to p.11.

Review forces with images:
Use images in Let’s Move. Pan Canadian Science Place p. 4-5 to review where forces are acting - students find all the places in the picture where forces are happening. e.g. the dog pushes on the ground to run, the leash pulls the owner behind the dog. p. 6-7 if time to talk about how much force is needed.
Also good images in Experiment with Movement by Bryan Murphy. p.4-5.
For each image say whether the force is changing the direction or speed.

Grades tested: 
Gr 1
Gr 2
Stephanie Monaghan
Site tested: 
General Gordon Elementary
Lesson plan originally developed and delivered: 

Gordon Elementary