Anchoring Phenomenon

Objects do not move on their own.

Lesson Concept

Analyze and interpret data about the cause and effect of objects colliding.

Investigative Phenomenon

A ball thrown against a wall changes direction.


Click here for NGSS, CCSS-ELA, and California ELD standards.

Time | Materials | Advance Preparation


80 minutes

Part I35 minutes
10 minutesEngage I
15 minutesExplore I
10 minutesExplain I
Part II45 minutes
10 minutesExplore II
20 minutesExplain II
10 minutesExplore III
5 minutesElaborate/Evaluate


Whole Class

Group (Groups of 4)

  • 2 one-inch cube blocks (to elevate the ruler)
  • Ruler (used for ramp)
  • Ping pong or tiny bouncy ball
  • Plastic cup cut in half (a basket for the ball to enter)
  • Sheet of 12” by 18” construction paper
  • Heavy wooden block (approximately 3” by 6”)


Teacher Use

Advance Preparation

  1. Find a place outside where students can play wall ball.
  2. Prepare the Mini-Wall Ball Game Boards. Use the first drawing on the K.5.R2: Mini-Wall Ball Set-up as a model. Draw a line on the opposite end of the paper to show where students will place the opening of their ramp. Then draw a line about 2 inches wide to show position 1, which will be parallel to the wall, a line of the same size to show position 2 and 3 that will be a diagonal line to the left of position 1. Draw a line where the wooden block should go, about 7 inches away from the ramp line.
  3. Assemble materials in a baggie for each group: the ball, the heavy wooden block, the basket (cup), the ruler, and 2 one-inch cubes blocks.
  4. Preview K.5.R1: Wall Ball Directions.
  5. Review the William’s Wall Ball Tournament video.
  6. Prepare the continuation K.5.C1: Class Notebook as described in the Toolbox for this lesson. Make sure you create a page in the notebook with a drawing similar to the second drawing in K.5.R2: Mini-Wall Ball Set-up and, on a separate page, a drawing similar to the third drawing in the K.5.R2: Mini-Wall Ball Set-up.


Every time the ball hits an object, it offers an opportunity to ask about cause and effect. By this point students should be familiar with the idea of cause and effect, so be explicit in using this language.

Part I

Engage I (10 minutes)

Ask questions based on observations about the cause and effect of objects colliding in different games.

  1. Display the list of questions generated on the Class Notebook in Lesson 3: Cruising Discs for things we need to know to score goals in soccer. Focus the class on the questions “When do players pass to other players or kick the ball somewhere besides the goal?” and “How does a player get around a blocker?” Today we are going to figure out the answer to one of the student questions about where players aim the ball to get around a blocker.
  2. Ask students what they know about playing wall ball. Share ideas and show the William’s Wall Ball Tournament video. Ask, “What do you think the players are trying to do? If you could ask the players questions, what would the questions be?” Chart questions in the K.5.C1: Class Notebook and watch the video again to look for answers in the video.
  3. Lead a discussion of how the students think wall ball is played, the goal of the game, the rules of the game, and how colliding with the wall is essential to the game. Write “Wall Ball Rules” on a page in the K.5.C1: Class Notebook.

Explore I (15 minutes)

Make observations about the cause and effect of objects colliding.

Image via Vista United School District
[Used with Permission]
  1. Answer any questions about how the game is played before going outside.
    1. Students form two lines in the wall ball area. Have a student from each line come forward. Give one student the ball and ask him/her to bounce it off the wall so it comes back to the other student.
    2. The rest of the students observe where others aim the ball to get it to come back to the opposite line of students.
    3. After several partners play, facilitate a discussion of strategies to get the ball to come back to the first person in the other line by asking, “What works? What doesn’t work?”
    4. Continue the game until all students have had a turn.

Explain I (10 minutes)

Record observations about patterns of cause and effect of objects colliding.

  1. Bring students back inside to the carpet. Ask students to share with a partner knee-toknee (student-to-student discourse) about what they observed about the movement of the ball. Encourage them to use a combination of body language and words such as collide and direction.
  2. Ask partners to share ideas with the class and use the K.5.C1: Class Notebook to record ideas about how to draw a diagram of the path of the ball as it moved, collided with the wall, and came to the student in the other line. Ask a variety of students to explain how to draw the diagram and add ideas as they are suggested.

    This is a good time to introduce to students a symbol for collision and to reinforce the use of arrows to show direction in their own diagrams and in class diagrams. This will help familiarize them with these symbols for the following day’s activity.

    Image via Vista Unified School District
    [Used with Permission]
    Image via Lakeside USD
    [Used with Permission]
  4. During this time, encourage students to develop a class symbol for movement and collisions. (Possible student ideas might be lines or arrows for movement and stars or asterisks for collisions.)
  5. Read a selection from the Literacy Links to develop concepts of print using the terms pushes and pulls. A good choice would be Give it a Push! Give it a Pull! but any of the literature on the list will work.

Part II

Engage II (10 minutes)

Use and share observations of the effect that a collision has on the motion of an object.

  1. Display the “Wall Ball Diagram” page in the K.5.C1: Class Notebook and ask, “How did the ball move when we played wall ball? Ask students to come up and trace the pathway of the ball as it moved from player to wall to another player.”
  2. Play William’s Wall Ball Tournament video again, and ask students to observe how the people in the video move around as they play the game. Debrief with the following questions:
    1. What questions do you have about how the players know where to move while playing wall ball?
    2. Why do players move side to side? Do they always hit the ball in the same direction? Why?
    3. How is their movement and aiming the same or different from what is done in soccer?

Explore II

Record observations to collect data about the cause and effect of objects changing direction after a collision.

  1. Introduce the mini-wall ball game to the students. Display the materials they will be using: the ruler, the 2 cubes, the ball, the half of a cup, the heavy wooden block, and a blank sheet of construction paper. Ask students to suggest how they might set up the materials to be a mini-wall ball court using the construction paper as the court.
  2. Display the second drawing from the K.5.R2: Mini-Wall Ball Set-up which you already drew in the K.5.C1: Class Notebook. Ask the students how this diagram looks similar to the wall ball court where they played yesterday. Lead a discussion that games like wall-ball have rules so everyone starts at the same place. The starting point needs to be 7 inches from the heavy wooden blocks (the wall). Tell them instead of throwing the ball they will use a ramp. In order to make the ball move faster, they can adjust the ruler with 2 cubes. The half of cup is a basket, or goal, which they place where they predict the ball will go after it hits the heavy wooden block (the wall).

    Many kindergarten students do not consider rules as a constant in a game. Therefore, you may want to add a list of game rules using pictures for students to refer to.

  4. Distribute bags of materials and the Mini-Wall Ball Game Board you prepared for each group of 4. Ask groups to find a place at a table or the floor to practice. Have the students set up the wall 7 inches from the starting point as shown on the Mini-Wall Ball Game Board and practice playing their mini-wall ball game. Encourage different angles for setting up the ramps (starting points) in order to change the pathway of the ball after it collides with the wall. After they set up their ramp, they should place the basket to predict where the ball will go. Once they have agreed on the position of the ramp and the basket, they should roll the ball down the ramp and see what happens. They can try moving the basket and moving the ramp to see what happens. At this point, they should just explore rather than focus on the 3 positions for the ramp drawn on the Mini-Wall Ball Game Board.
  5. Return to the carpet and ask students to describe the different ways in which they set up the materials to get the ball to go in the basket. Record what students figured out about their set-up in the K.5.C1: Class Notebook.
  6. Display the third drawing from the K.5.R2: Mini-Wall Ball Set-up which you had drawn in the K.5.C1: Class Notebook. Have a basket and a ruler available to use for the demonstration. Tell students they might have noticed these 3 positions on their game field. Tell them you are going to place the ramp (the ruler) at position 3. Ask the students where the basket should be placed so the ball after it goes down the ramp and collides with the wall will go into the basket. Call on some students to share their thinking. Place a sticky note with a student’s name on it where that student thinks the basket should be placed.
  7. Image via WestEd
    Ramp in Position 1
    Image via WestEd
    Ramp in Position 3
  8. Distribute sticky notes to each student. Tell students they are going to go back to their work stations and have one person place the ramp in one of the three positions and then have each
    Image via Emerson/Bandini Elementary,
    San Diego Unified School District
    [Used with Permission]
    student in the group predict where the basket should go. In their own groups, have them share some of the reasons why one student’s basket position will work with that ramp over another and choose a location for the basket that they agree to try. They must prioritize one basket position to try first.
  9. Distribute K.5.H1: Recording Sheet to each student. Ask each group to once again release the ball from each ramp position and to record the path of the ball. They should practice multiple times for each ramp position so they can figure out where to place the basket. Each student records what happens on the K.5.H1: Recording Sheet.

Explain II (10 minutes)

Use and share observations of the effect that a collision has on the motion of an object.

    Image via Lakeside USD
    [Used with Permission]
  1. Ask students to return to the carpet with K.5.H1: Recording Sheet and sit with a new partner that was not a member of their group. Ask student pairs to share ideas about how the placement of the ramp caused the ball to move differently after colliding with the wall.
  2. Partners share ideas with the group while you start a new page labeled “Things That Happen When Objects Collide” in the K.5.C1: Class Notebook.
  3. As a whole group, create a record of how the ball moves after collisions from different angles.

Elaborate/Evaluate (5 minutes)

Collisions affect the observed motion of an object in games.

  1. Wrap up today’s investigation asking students to choral read the notebook page labeled “Things That Happen When Objects Collide.” Discuss what patterns are recorded about how objects change direction after a collision. Ask individual students to draw a picture of what happens when objects collide. Use arrows, asterisks, and pathways to show where the object starts, collides, changes direction, and ends up.

    Collect the individual K.5.H1: Recording Sheets to evaluate for patterns that show that students understand that changing the starting point changes the collision and the resulting path of the ball to the basket. Use this rubric to score the work.

    All three diagrams include a complete pathway with arrows and the collision point.
    Two diagrams include a complete pathway and may or may not include the collision point.
    One diagram with partial pathways, may or may not include arrows or the collision point.
    Off topic or does not include all parts as a minimum.

    Note: If students are not understanding using a collision to change direction include the mini-wall ball game in the choice center or ask students to set up different tracks with ramps and cars that will collide and change direction.

  3. Review entries in the K.5.C1: Class Notebook related to how motionless objects are put into motion through pushes and pulls and move with greater or less force. Pushes and pulls can be used as tools to make things move. Objects can change direction through the use of angles and collisions.
  4. Display the question page of the K.5.C1: Class Notebook started in Lesson 3: Cruising Discs. Ask students to review the list and think about what else we need to know to plan to make goals in soccer. Tell students in the next lesson they will develop a plan for scoring in soccer.

Literacy Links

It would be appropriate to have students interact with text to extend their understanding of movement. These selections can be read aloud at any time after this lesson where students have experienced pushes and pulls and change of direction. Suggested books include the following:



Boothroyd, J. (2010). Give It a Push! Give It a Pull! New York, NY: Lerner Digital.

Bradley, K. B., & Meisel, P. (2010). Forces Make Things Move. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Curry, D. L. (2001). How Things Move. Mankato, MN: Yellow Umbrella Books.

Endres, H. J. (2004). Push and Pull. Bloomington, MN: Yellow Umbrella Books.

Guillain, C. (2012). Push and Pull. London: Raintree.

Murphy, P. J. (2002). Push and Pull. New York, NY: Children’s Press.

Navarro, J. (2011, March 5). William’s Wall Ball Tournament-Game 5. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhsAKRn10G4

Nelson, R. (2004). Push and Pull. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications.

Schaefer, L. M. (2000). Push and Pull. Mankato, MN: Pebble Books.

Stille, D. R., & Boyd, S. (2004). Motion: Push and Pull, Fast and Slow. Minneapolis, MN: Picture Window Books.


Download K.5.C1

Download K.5.H1

Download K.5.R1

Download K.5.R2