Sixth Grade, Physics Lesson Plans (24 results)

Physics is the study of matter — what is it made of? How does it behave? What laws or equations describe it? From subatomic particles, to the Big Bang, modern physicists study matter at a tremendous range of scales. There's a whole lot of interesting physics at the human scale, too.

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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
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What goes up, must come down in this thrill-seeking lesson plan! How much energy does a roller coaster car need to make it through a loop? In this lesson your students will learn about kinetic and potential energy as they build their own roller coasters from simple classroom materials. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS3-2. Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.
  • MS-PS3-5. Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Learn about real space flight and Newton's laws of motion with this fun lesson! This new twist on a classic project lets your students build a multi-stage balloon rocket that they can launch across the classroom. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS2-2. Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object's motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.
  • MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Aircraft carriers are much shorter than a typical airport runway. How do airplanes manage to gain enough speed for takeoff over such a short distance? A catapult gives them an extra boost! In this lesson, your students will practice engineering design as they build their own paper airplane launchers, while learning about kinetic and potential energy. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS3-2. Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.

  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Don't just teach your students about Newton's laws of motion using diagrams in a textbook—try something hands-on! In this project, students will build their own cars using craft materials and explore the relationship between force, mass, and acceleration. Students can graph data and make observations in real-time using a mobile phone and a sensor app or use a low-tech approach with a meter stick and stopwatch. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS2-2. Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Combine Newton's third law of motion with engineering design in one fun lesson! Your students will learn about equal and opposite reaction forces as they design and build a bumper to protect a toy car during a crash. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS2-1. Apply Newton's Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
When light interacts with an object, it can be absorbed, transmitted, or reflected. This lesson focuses on materials that reflect light. Specifically, students will use mirrors and flashlights to investigate how light is reflected from a surface. By doing that, they will discover that when a light ray hits a reflective surface, its angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection, which is stated by the law of reflection. Students will then use their gained knowledge in a mirror maze… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS4-2. Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for the iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Why can we feel gravity pull us down towards the Earth, but not sideways towards other big objects like buildings? Why do the planets in our solar system orbit the sun instead of flying off into space? In this lesson plan your students will develop a model for gravity and use it to explore answers to these questions. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS2-4. Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects.
  • MS-ESS1-2. Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Rube Goldberg machines—machines that complete a simple task in a convoluted way—are intriguing, artistic, and fun! In this lesson, students will design and build such a machine themselves and use the concept of kinetic energy in the process. Before students start designing, they will do an experiment that explores how kinetic energy depends on the mass and the speed of the moving object. With a clear understanding of this concept, students then tackle the engineering design… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS3-1. Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.
  • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
We are surrounded by sounds every day, ranging from unpleasant ones like traffic noise to enjoyable ones like music or singing birds. What makes these sounds different? Why are some louder or higher pitched than others? In this lesson plan, your students will investigate how the properties of a sound wave, like frequency and amplitude, affect the sounds we hear. They will do this using a sensor app than can record sound and frequency data with a mobile phone and a homemade musical… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS4-1. Use mathematical representations to describe a simple model for waves that includes how the amplitude of a wave is related to the energy in a wave.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
In this lesson plan, your students will build their own recycling sorting machines that use various methods, like magnets or puffs of air, to separate shreds of paper from paper clips. This lesson is inspired by the real-world engineering challenge of separating various materials, like paper, plastic, and metals, that get combined in single-stream recycling programs. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS2-3. Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.
  • MS-PS2-5. Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.
  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
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