August 17th, 2016

This activity groups items related to motion that seem similar and challenges students to chose which item in the group is not like the others. Students use supporting evidence to explain their reasoning.

1.5 motion odd one out

1.7 — Motion: Odd One Out (Optional)

App Features

Note that the Playground Physics app is not required for this lesson.

Expected Activity Time

  • Total Activity Time: 40 minutes
  • Introduction: 5 minutes
  • Activity: 15 minutes
  • Discussion: 20 minutes

Materials and Prep

  • Worksheet: Motion: Odd One Out   
  • iPad with Playground Physics app (optional)


Introduce the Activity (5 minutes)

  • In this activity students will be choosing what they think is the best answer to the question “which is the odd one out.” Remind students that there is a “best” answer but that in some cases they can make correct arguments for other answers.

Activity (15 minutes)

  • Have students work individually to fill out the worksheet. If students are having trouble constructing a response, ask them to imagine using the Playground Physics app to record the scenario. What are some things they might see? You might also want to stage a few scenes using the app for inspiration.
  • Break students up into groups and ask them to agree on one answer for each row in the table.

Discussion (20 minutes)

  • Go through each question on the worksheet as a class. For each question, have groups share their answer and reasoning for it.
  • Do not be surprised when each group has a different response for which scenario is the odd one out. A correct answer is judged by the thinking behind the argument and not whether the answer is right or wrong. Look for the most compelling argument.
  • Remember to check the “Parking Lot” of questions at the end of the class period. Remove any questions that have been answered and add any new questions that may have come up.

Answer Key

Remember these responses are only best answers and students may come up with alternative responses. As long as their claim is supported with enough evidence or reasoning, it is acceptable.

Row 1 Sample response: Mass is not related to motion; the motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion, and speed; so the mass is the odd one out.

Row 2 Sample response: The average speed is calculated as total distance over time traveled; instantaneous speed is the odd one out as the others are “ingredients” of average speed.

Row 3 Sample response: A dropped ball has just one dimension of motion (vertical motion); all the other examples involve two-dimensional movement (horizontal and vertical).

Row 4 Sample response: A person riding on a merry-go-round goes in three dimensions (up and down on the horse, and around in a circle), all the others have one
or two-dimensional movement, which can be filmed by the app.

Worksheet Previews

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.18.02 PM Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.18.12 PM

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Big Idea

The purpose of this activity is to provide an opportunity for students to draw upon their knowledge of motion to analyze relationships between items in a group. The worksheet may also be used to stimulate small group or whole class discussion after students have had an opportunity to think through their own ideas.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to use scientific reasoning to construct an argument about which scenario is the odd one out.
  • Students will be able to draw from their experiences with the Playground Physics app to support their scientific reasoning.

Standards Addressed


Science and Engineering Practices

Engaging in argumentation from evidence:

construct and present oral and written arguments supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon or a solution to a problem.


Text Types and Purposes

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6,7,8.1: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.1.B: Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.

Comprehension and Collaboration

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6,7,8.1: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6,7,8.3: Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.


Standard 4: The Physical Setting

5.1b: The motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion, and speed.


  • Motion is an object’s change in position.
  • Distance is the total amount of ground covered by an object in motion.
  • Speed is how fast an object is moving regardless of its direction.
  • Velocity is how fast an object gets somewhere with respect to direction.
  • Acceleration is how fast something changes speed.