August 17th, 2016

In this lesson, students get to explore their play through the use of the app.

3.1 energy bingo

3.2 — Energy: Fun With Energy

App Features

Using the energy lens students will:

  • Record a performance using the activity templates.
  • Create a path.
  • Add height and mass.
  • Adjust ground height.
  • Add kinetic and potential energy stickers.

Expected Activity Time

  • Total Activity Time: 45 minutes
  • Introduction: 15 minutes
  • Investigation: 15 minutes
  • Discussion: 15 minutes

Materials and Prep

  • Fun props to create videos
  • iPad with the Playground Physics app
  • Projector with iPad adaptor (optional)
  • Worksheet: Energy: Fun with Physics


Introduction: 10 minutes

  • Tell students that they are going to get a chance to explore the energy lens of the app by making a number of different videos that they find fun and interesting.
  • Share with students the worksheet Energy: Fun with Physics and have them read through the list of activity ideas with their group. Each group should add to the list by suggesting five other activity ideas they might want to explore when thinking about energy. Remind students to be creative but that they also need to have any materials they might need to enact their ideas on hand.
  • All groups should also plan to record a video of a student swinging so that they will have it for the upcoming lessons. (If students do not have access to a swing set, they can make and film a pendulum instead.) Students should then star three additional activities that they plan to record while outside. Remind students they can add to their plan once outside and that they are not limited by this list.
  • Before heading outside, remind students of the tips for recording videos with Playground Physics that they learned from the Bingo activity, to be respectful of other groups while outside, be safe with the activities they choose to explore, and to have fun!

Record Videos: 30 minutes

  • While outside there is no need to scaffold any activities since these videos are important set-up for later lessons.
  • Dissecting and analyzing of the performances can be done on the playground or back in the classroom. Have students use the energy lens to trace a path, explore data and graphs, and add kinetic and potential energy stickers.

Discussion: 5 minutes

  • Once back in the classroom have each group share what their favorite type of activity to explore energy was that they recorded and what they noticed or thought was interesting about exploring it through the use of the Playground Physics app.
  • If time allows, students can also connect their iPads to a projector and share one of the videos they created with
    the class.
  • Remember to check the Parking Lot of questions at the end of the class period. Remove any questions that have been answered and have students add any new questions that may have come up.

Worksheet Previews

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 12.36.35 PM

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

Big Idea

The purpose of this activity is to allow students time to explore playful moments through the use of the app and begin noticing the science in their play. In later lessons, students are required to use the app in a more controlled way to get ideal results.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to record and annotate a video using the Playground Physics app.
  • Students will be able to follow the tips for recording to record videos that can be accurately analyzed through the use of the app.

Standards Addressed


Science and Engineering Practices:

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the classroom, outdoor environment and museums and other public facilities with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on observations and scientific principles.


Key Ideas and Details

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3: Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

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.


Standard 2: Information Systems

Information technology is used to retrieve, process and communicate information and as a tool to enhance learning.


  • Speed is how fast an object is moving regardless of its direction.
  • Kinetic energy (KE) is the energy of an object in motion.
  • Potential energy (PE) is stored energy that an object has as a result of its vertical position.

Device Strategies

Single-device implementation

With only one device, you can project the iPad so that the entire class can watch and be involved in the recording and investigation/annotation of a single race.

Multiple-device implementation

With many devices, students may be broken up into teams to work collaboratively on their iPads to annotate and investigate their videos. We suggest having teams of three to four students. (Suggestions for student roles in each time can be found in the introduction.) Just make sure you keep track of which group had which iPad