In this lesson, students swing and write a description of what they observe about energy as they swing back and forth. This lesson is a starting place to help students connect to their own experiences and does not require the use of the Playground Physics app.
3.1 — Energy: Swinging – Part I
The Playground Physics app is not used in this lesson.
Expected Activity Time
- Total Activity Time: 45 minutes
- Introduction: 15 minutes
- Investigation: 15 minutes
- Discussion: 15 minutes
Materials and Prep
- Swings (or materials to create pendulums)
- Worksheet: Energy: Swinging – Part I
Introduction: 15 minutes
- Tell students that as a class you are going to start investigating the question “How can I describe the energy involved with swinging?” Write the question on the board and ask students to share their initial ideas to this question. Add their ideas to the board as they share them.
- Provide students with the worksheet Energy: Swinging – Part 1. Have students write their own definitions for each of the four vocabulary words. Let students know that it is okay if they do not already know the definitions of the words. If they are not sure of the definition, encourage them to take a guess or make up a silly definition based on what the word sounds like.
Investigation: 20 minutes
- Take students to a playground with swings. If you do not have access to a playground with swings, this same investigation can be done by having students create and observe pendulums in the classroom. Allow students time to play on the swings and watch others swinging while thinking about the energy involved with swinging and how they would describe that energy.
- Once students have had time to play and swing, have them write a description of the energy involved with swinging on the worksheet along with any questions that they have. Students should include the vocabulary words in their writing even if they don’t use them correctly. Encourage students to be creative in their writing. Learning about energy with Playground Physics is intended to be fun!
Discussion: 10 minutes
- Allow students to share their ideas about the energy involved with swinging and how they described it with the class.
- Write the words “Parking Lot” on a large piece of chart paper and post it at the front of the room. This is a place where students can post questions about their investigations and their wonderings in physics as the class moves through the lessons. Give each group of students a post-it note and have them write one of the questions they had about energy while swinging on the post-it. End the lesson by having each group share their question and place it in the Parking Lot. As students answer their questions that are in the Parking Lot, the questions can be removed. As the class moves through the lessons and new questions arise, they can be posted in the Parking Lot.
- Teachers may want to collect and hold on to students’ worksheets, as they will revisit the writing they did in this lesson at the end of the unit.
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