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5th Grade Forces and Motion

December has been a fun month of active learning for our fifth grade science students. We have been busy this last quarter working with physical science standards in our classroom.  The latest standard we have been working toward completing in fifth grade is entitled Forces/Newton’s 2nd Law: Describe changes in motion due to outside forces (push, pull, gravity).  Our hands-on inquiry experiments that have added meaning to this content have involved making ziplines, experiencing how force and mass are related using toy cars, rubber bands and weights, and by throwing playing cards.  


To make our ziplines, students were given a pipe cleaner, paper clips, note cards, straws, washers, pennies and tape. They had to build a device that would transport a ping pong ball down a 6 meter zipline of fishing line.  We of course made it a competition to see which team’s device would travel the fastest down the line, so we could calculate the average speed.  Students had to explain what forces were acting on the carrier and what manipulated variables made it successful.  During the second activity, we used rubber bands pulled back at different distances and launched a toy truck forward to show how changing force has an effect on distance. We then added mass to the trucks to observe its outcome. You are never too old to play with trucks at school!  In the third inquiry, we threw playing cards at balloons, foam board and paper over an open tote to compare the forces it takes to try to pop, stick or break through the different surfaces. The students discovered that this activity was harder than it looked.  Nobody popped a balloon, one student got his card to stick in the foam board and several broke through the paper.  Overall, we had a great time experiencing how hands-on activities are both fun and important to learning!

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Freeman Public Schools415 8th StreetP.O. Box 259Adams, NE  68301

p. 402.988.2525f. 402.988.3475

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It is the policy of Freeman Public Schools not to discriminate on the basis of gender, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, age or national origin in its education programs, administration, policies, employment or other district programs.

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