Monday, April 1, 2013

Force and Motion First Grade Style

If you follow my Facebook page, you might have seen my recent confession about how insecure I am about science. I avoided science in high school and college and, most of the time, I do not get it . I literally STUDY for my first graders. I want so badly to understand it very well so I can teach it well to them. In a way, "not getting it" has helped me to be a better teacher. Things have never really come easy to me (yes I was in the lowest reading group in grade school), but that's actually made me really motivated to teach things in a way that will help my students "get it". I get "not getting it". Wow, those of you who are sticklers for grammar are probably cringing. Back to science. Well, I study, I read, I reread and I "experiment" until.... I GET IT! 

Sooooo... then came force and motion. Oh... my my my. I can do animals. I can do habitats. I can do plants. Force and motion?! Newton's laws?! Say what? I have spent way too much time trying to figure out how to make this unit engaging, ACCURATE, and easier to understand for my firsties. As my bloggy friends, I'm hoping you can all leave help me out a bit. Please tell me if/when I'm wrong. "Sarah, that's actually not  true. You're confused again. Nice try, but actually this is how it is..." Seriously, help a sister out. 

So here's what I've done so far:
Sorry, I don't have a ton of pictures. :( 
I started by introducing the words object and position. Then I had students try to move some objects. We discussed how the word motion means to change an object's position. In one word, motion is movement. We experimented with different ways to make an object move. Then we defined the word force. Students learned that a force is a push or a pull. An object needs a force to be set into motion. We  explored different ways to get objects to move and pointed out how everything is a push or a pull. 

Then we went onto the playground to look for  examples of pushes and pulls:

Of course they loved when we busted out the toy cars!  

After the last investigation (in green), we talked about why the car stopped. We reviewed Newton's law  (an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force). We talked about those outside forces. Then we investigated friction. 

Next week we'll be doing some investigations with more ramps, pulleys and levers. We'll see how it goes!


  1. Thanks for stopping by and saying hi! Glad you could find a few useful ideas on my blog.

  2. Great post!
    You should put together all your science sheets for the year and sell it on TPT!!! Your favorite fans will buy it!!!
    Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe

  3. I am with you...I really don't remember learning any science when I was in school. When I moved to sixth grade they studied, hello? I asked my husband what he knew about Sound and I was impressed with what he remembered (and he is older than I am!) Happily, back to grade two where I can handle whatever they throw at me!

    You'll do fine!

  4. I am so with you! I struggled in reading too. It took me a couple of tries to pass many reading tests. I get it when kids struggle. I don't enjoy science that much either. I had to research rocks when we did our rock unit. I felt so dumb. I wish I could give you tips for Force and Motion, but I can't. The closest I have gotten to ramps, pulley's and levers is when we discussed Leprechaun Traps. :) Good looks like you are off to a good start.
    First Grade Funtastic

  5. We just finished up with our science unit Balance and Motion. We did an exploration using cars as well and they LOVED it. We just wish it was easier to fit science into our schedule. We are usually doing our best to squeeze it in!

    :) Tamra and Sarah
    First Grade Buddies

  6. I love your units and hope you post this one too! Science is hard to always get in, and I need to research the topics too. Can't wait to see what else you come up with!

  7. Hi Sarah,
    I feel just like you. This is not a science unit I "get" at all. I have left it for the third term and now it is time to tackle it. I was excited to see that you were going to share what you do to teach "Force and Motion" on your blog. Thanks! Linda

  8. Wow. Sounds like a lot of fun. Can't wait for you to have it on TpT. Hint hint!


  9. I love your force & motion lesson, great job!! If you ever need any fun science ideas, stop on by my little blog - it's my specialty! Now please don't ask me to teach reading, spelling, etc. - that is what I consider hard to do!!

    Science for Kids Blog

  10. Any Plans to upload these activities to TPT?

  11. I love reading your blog weekly as I make my lesson plans. If I am ever stumped, "Snippets by Sarah will know"! Thank you for posting your ideas and for having an awesome blog!

  12. I love these ideas. Any chance you are going to put them on TPT? I would love to use your handouts.

  13. I stopped by to say that I found a few useful ideas here. Your blog is perfectly designed and supported with amazing stuff! The best writing service is provided by professionals, without a doubt!