Inside the Classroom: Tiffany Beeles at Upland Heights

Inside the Classroom: Tiffany Beeles at Upland Heights

By Tiffany Beeles

Several elementary campuses in Frenship ISD have been studying force and motion. The activity is to apply knowledge of our fifth grade science TEKS (5.6) to test the effects of force on an object and (5.2) the experimental design process. Students are encouraged to use Newton’s laws of motion with this activity as well as application of vocabulary terms such as force, motion, gravity, friction, and inertia.

Students are split into four teams. They are to run from one cone to the next while sweeping a bowling ball, go around the cone, and back to the start to hand-off to the next person in line. During the activity they are experiencing these force facts:

  • If an object is at rest, it will remain at rest until a force (a push or a pull) is applied to it.
  • An object in motion will continue to move in a straight line at a constant speed unless a force acts on it.
  • When the force on an object is increased, the speed increases.
  • The motion of an object is affected by friction (a force cause by two objects rubbing against each other).
  • The motion of an object is affected by gravity (a force that gives things weight and makes them fall).
  • A force can change the direction an object is moving.
  • A force can change the shape of an object.

Students are challenged to connect these force facts to the activity when they return to the classroom. They provide an output writing in their journal about the forces they experienced.

The activity was introduced to me when I taught 5th grade science at North Ridge with Kris Farmer. As a first time science teacher, Mrs. Farmer taught me the importance of the application of science concepts and how students need that kinesthetic learning.

Students’ reactions range from “this is awesome” to “this is hard!” They always think it is easier than what it really is. They always ask to go again!

My favorite part of the activity is their reaction to trying to control the bowling ball and how they use strategy. I also enjoy watching them make connections between the Bowling Balls and Broomstick race and the concepts we are learning. They work together to encourage one another and share their strategies.