Monday, May 14, 2012

Forces in Everyday Motions

Earlier this week, I asked the students to bring in an object so that they could act out some kind of everyday motion.  Students brought in tennis rackets, yo-yos, carts, dodgeballs, and even inhalers to act out motions. 

In the past, I printed simple clip-art images of people pushing carts, hitting baseballs and kicking soccer balls.  I gave them sheets of arrows labeled with the words "contact force," "gravity" and "friction," then allowed them to glue the arrows onto the image based on the direction of each force.  This year, I thought it would be more fun to have the students plan and act out their own motions instead of those clip-art images.

I pulled the students out into the hallway in small groups of 2-3, then had each student perform their motion.  I snapped a quick photo of each student, then sent them back to the classroom to work on a pre-planned activity.  Later on, I pasted the images onto a Word document and printed a picture for each student. 

The following day, students first cut out the contact force, friction and gravity arrows, shown above.  I handed out the printed photographs from the previous day and they placed the arrows onto the posters according to the direction of each force.  In this way, students could actually remember back to their experience with the activity and could recall exactly where they were providing force.  Once they were checked for accuracy, the students glued the arrows to the posters. 

This one is always a quick, but fun activity that shows the relationships between forces in a way that the students can actually feel and experience.


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