August 17th, 2016

In this lesson, students jump rope and write a description of what they observe about the forces on their bodies as they leave the ground and then return again. This lesson is a starting place to help students connect to their own lived experiences and does not require the use of the Playground Physics app.

2.4 Force jumping

2.1 — Jumping Rope – Part I

App Features

The playground physics app is not used in this lesson.

Expected Activity Time

  • Total Activity Time: 45 minutes
  • Introduction: 15 minutes
  • Record a video: 15 minutes
  • Discussion: 15 minutes

Materials and Prep

  • Jump ropes (one jump rope per group of students)
  • Worksheet: Force: Jumping Rope – Part I


Introduction: 15 minutes

  • Tell students that as a class you are going to start investigating the question “How can I describe the forces on my body when I jump rope with a friend?” 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 Force: Jumping Rope Part 1. Have students write their own definitions for each of the five 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: 15 minutes

  • Provide a jump rope to each group of students. Allow students time to jump rope while thinking about the forces acting on their bodies while jumping rope and how they would describe those forces.
  • Once students have had time to play and jump rope, have them write a description of the forces acting on their bodies while jumping rope 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 force with Playground Physics is intended to be fun!

Discussion: 15 minutes

  • Allow students to share their ideas about the forces acting on their bodies while jumping rope 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 the 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 forces while jumping rope 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.

Worksheet Previews

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.19.54 PM Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.20.08 PM

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Apps used
Duration: 40-60 mins
Grade(s): 6-8
Prep: Easy
Tags: , ,

Big Idea

The purpose of this activity is to help students reflect on their lived experiences and prior ideas before diving into teaching physics concepts. The activity uses a common physical activity – jumping rope – to help students begin thinking about forces, pushes and pulls, and Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

The writing component of this lesson is designed as a formative assessment after covering the concepts of force, force pairs and Newton’s Third Law of Motion. Students should show an improvement in their description of these concepts at the end of the unit.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to write a description of their observations of the forces after jumping rope.

Standards Addressed


Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns

Observed patterns in nature guide organization and classification, and prompt questions about relationships and causes underlying them.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

PS2.A: Forces and Motion

All positions of objects and the directions of forces and motions must be described in an arbitrarily chosen reference frame and arbitrarily chosen units of size. In order to share information with other people, these choices must also be shared.


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2: Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.D: Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.


Standard 4: The Physical Setting

PS. 5.1a: The motion of an object is always judged with respect to some other object or point. The idea of absolute motion or rest is misleading.


  • Force is an interaction between objects that causes a change in the motion of an object.
  • Newton’s Third Law of Motion explains that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
  • Force pairs (push/pull) are the two objects whose forces are acting on one another in equal strength and opposite directions. These forces can be in the form of a push or a pull.