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STEM Lesson Plans for Forces of Motion

Covering forces of motion in science class? Try one of these five free lesson plans to help students get hands-on with physics.

Photo collage of four motion themed science projects

Teach Forces of Motion with 5 Free Lesson Plans

Teaching elementary and middle school students about forces of motion, energy, and Newton's laws is an important part of standards-based science curriculum. At Science Buddies, we know that getting kids hands-on with these concepts can be a powerful way to help them learn scientific concepts and make connections with other science lessons. Pair hands-on learning with engaging maker-inspired building projects like the ones described below, and your students will have fun putting forces of motion in action in the classroom and practicing engineering design at the same time.

These five free lesson plans each outline creative science activities that help students explore the forces of motion in tactile ways:

  1. Balloon Car Lesson Plans: design, build, and race balloon-powered cars to experiment with kinetic and potential energy.
  2. Paper Roller Coasters: Kinetic and Potential Energy: design and test paper roller coasters to explore kinetic and potential energy, conservation of energy, and friction.
  3. Push Harder — Newton's Second Law: build cars using craft materials and then use the cars to explore the relationship between force, mass, and acceleration. (Students can use Google's free Science Journal app to record and graph acceleration data as part of the hands-on activity.)
  4. Two-Stage Balloon Rocket: build a multi-stage balloon rocket to investigate the science of space flight and Newton's laws of motion.
  5. Skydive Into Forces: make parachutes from tissue paper and string and experiment with toy skydivers to explore "invisible" forces like gravity and air resistance.

All Lesson Plans at Science Buddies are NGSS-aligned. Teachers can view the associated NGSS performance expectations on the summary page for each lesson. Information is also provided about the aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning addressed by each lesson.

Thank you to General Motors for supporting the development of Science Buddies Lesson Plans that help teachers and students explore physics and forces of motion in tactile ways.

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