The activities in this lesson will allow students to observe and analyze the forces of gravity.
It's An Uphill Battle
If you throw a ball into the air, the force you exert pushes the ball forward and/or up. The ball continues to move in that direction until the effect of gravity becomes stronger than the force of your throw. Gravity pulls the ball downward toward Earth.
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
2. Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Invitation to Learn
Bicycle Ride Pantomime
Tell the students they are going to pretend to go on a bike ride and they need to listen carefully as you describe the terrain and respond appropriately.
"It is a nice spring day--great for a bike ride. You put on your helmet and pull your bike to the end of the driveway. You carefully climb onto your bike. After looking both ways, you start pedaling and turn right onto the road. The road is nice and flat for awhile. Now, you are approaching a small hill. To get to the top you have to push a little harder and faster on your pedals. The road levels off and then disappears. You suspect that the road goes downhill. You are correct. It is a long gentle slope. As you go down the hill, you can coast instead of pedal. You turn right at the bottom of the hill where the road flattens out. A nice steady even pedaling keeps you going at a constant speed. You spot a steep ravine up ahead. As you approach, you sigh before starting downhill. You have to apply the brakes to prevent yourself from going too fast. As soon as you reach the bottom, you start to climb uphill. It is so steep; you have to pedal really hard and fast. Once on top, you stop to catch your breath. The flat terrain is inviting. You pedal along at a steady speed. You turn left at the corner and continue your steady pedaling until you reach your friend's house. You turn left into their driveway, stop, get off your bike, lean your bike against the wall, and take off your helmet."
What would you tell your friend about your bike ride and the effect of gravity as you went up and down the hills?
It's An Uphill Battle
Relate this activity to the Roller Coaster activity.
Have the students select and research an amusement park ride of their choice. Write a report detailing when, where, why, how, and by whom the ride was invented. The student may also include technological advances in the ride since its original invention. Include what forces are involved.
Sing Gravity (pdf).
Play a game with family that requires a ball. Instruct students to discuss the effect of forward momentum and gravity on the ball.
Family Bike Ride
Go on a family bike ride. Discuss how it requires more force to go up a hill than down a hill.
Design (and construct) an amusement park ride at home with the help of family. Bring the ride to school and set up a class amusement park.
It's an Uphill Battle