Objects move in different ways during physical activities on the playground.
Using the characteristics of forces and their effects on motion, design a solution for a new piece of playground equipment or game.
A school can’t reopen the playground until it receives a design for a new playground structure.
Click here for NGSS, CCSS–ELA, and California ELD standards.
|Part I||60 minutes||Engage|
|Part II||60 minutes||Explore 1|
|Part III||60–120 minutes||Explore 2|
|Part IV||60 minutes||Explain|
|Part V||60 minutes||Elaborate|
|Part VI||45–60 minutes||Evaluate|
Obtain information about the new playground design that will use force and motion and cause and effect.
Possible student-driven questions:
Explain to students that the questions about size, materials, and time will be answered during your explanation of the engineering design process. Also explain that they will work to figure out the answers to many of their other questions during this lesson.
3.5.R2: EiE Engineering Design Process is an example of the engineering design process by Engineering is Elementary (EiE), a division of the Museum of Science, Boston (https://www.eie.org). 3.5.R3: NGSS Engineering Design Process is another example of the engineering design process taken from the NGSS Science Frameworks (Appendix I).
Note: The design process is called out in ETS1.A [Possible solutions to a problem are limited by available materials and resources (constraints). The success of a designed solution is determined by considering the desired features of a solution (criteria). Different proposals can be compared on the basis of how well each one meets the specified criteria for success or how well each takes the constraints into account. (3-5-ETS1-1)]
The design and explanation must include:
Communicate ideas about the new playground design using force and motion and cause and effect.
When students share their plan, one thing to have them explain is what type of force will be used (balanced, unbalanced); how the forces lead to motion (cause and effect); as well as making sure they are showing the predicted direction and strength of the forces with arrows. This is an important part of their design, as it makes them reflect on what they’ve learned about forces and motion. This can be used as a point of formative assessment.
This activity allows for integrating mathematics, and you can choose to put a “price” on the materials, and give groups a limit of how much they can “spend.” It would tie in to 3.NBT.A.2: Use place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multidigit arithmetic.
Build a physical model that is the prototype design showing the cause and effect of how force and motion are used in the new activity/structure.
For the purposes of this lesson, a physical model can be either building a model with real stuff or making a detailed diagram.
Compare multiple solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
The goal is for the teams to present their design and its effectiveness for solving the problem. It would be best if all groups could hear from each other, but this is time consuming. One option is to partner groups, or put them in trios so that they hear at least 1 or 2 other groups reporting. Another way is to do a gallery walk where students visit different teams. One member of each team remains with the design to share results; the rest of the team travels and then returns and shares what they learned.
It is a good idea to take pictures of the students’ prototypes at this point. When students do revisions to their models, it is helpful for the students to have documentation of their initial model for reflection.
Students may need scaffolding to stay on topic and to generate questions of each other that are helpful. You can choose to offer some sentence frames that show how engineers talk to one another about designs:
For sharing ideas:
For responding to others’ ideas:
Explain that this engineering design process is a simplified version built on specific components within a more complex design process. This is called out in the standard ETS1.B: At whatever stage, communicating with peers about proposed solutions is an important part of the design process, and shared ideas can lead to improved designs.
Communicate with peers about proposed solutions and possible revisions and redesigns of their model to better meet the criteria and constraints of their design.
Point out to students that engineers strive to improve existing technologies or develop new ones to increase their benefits (to man, living creatures, or the environment), decrease known risks, and to meet societal demands. If you are able to show an example of an old, big cell phone (or a flip phone) and a newer version, this real object can help students connect with this concept.
Provide sentence frames if necessary:
Remind students to use the sentence frames that show how engineers talk (from Step 25).
Construct an argument that explains how motion on the playground is the result of unbalanced forces and can be supported by specific designs.
Writing a letter gives students an opportunity to communicate scientific information in a written format, including various forms of media as well as tables, diagrams, and charts which is a grade-level element of the SEP “Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.” You could add an oral presentation to this assignment as well. Writing a letter of this type also supports the SEP of Constructing Explanations.
You can use the letter to assess students’ knowledge of the three dimensions they used to solve the problem and their use of the engineering design process to explain change through the relationships (cause and effect) between forces and motion. Use 3.5.R5: Playground Rubric for this assessment.
2016 Science Framework. (n.d.). Retrieved August 04, 2020, from https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/sc/cf/cascienceframework2016.asp
NGSS Lead States. 2013. Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States. Appendix I: Engineering Design in the Next Generation Science Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Museum of Science: Boston. (2020). The Engineering Design Process. EiE.org. https://www.eie.org/overview/engineering-design-process
STEM Teaching Tools. (n.d.). Talk Science Printable. Retrieved from http://stemteachingtools.org/assets/landscapes/TalkSciencePrintable.pdf