Physical Science: Forces and Motion

Charlotte Roberts, Trimmer, Nichole Bulloch, Andra Willis

By the end of the unit, students will mime scientific concepts of force and motion to communicate an understanding of the relationship between them.


Balls of varying size/mass
Paper bags with varying objects inside


To be done after teaching the Forces and Motion unit: during the Forces and Motion unit, students will complete 4 squares plus motions.

Day 1
1. Fruits and Vegetables activity using science vocabulary (momentum, gravity, force, air resistance, friction, mass, weight, speed, Newton’s Laws, equal/opposite reactions)
a. Participants stand in a circle and are instructed to think of a Forces and Motion vocabulary word they have defined in their 4 Square books
b. Participants, then, one at a time go around the circle in order, simply saying the name of their chosen science vocabulary word. Leader has entire group copy exactly the offering of each participant in a call-and-response style. (Person says, “momentum”, group responds, “momentum”)
c. Go around the circle again with the participants once again saying the name of their chosen vocabulary word, and adding inflection to the voice which indicates the feeling the vocabulary word provokes. Group responds.
d. Go around the circle a third time, with a participant saying the name of their vocabulary word with inflection, and adding a movement that is informed by the meaning as well as the shape of the vocabulary word. Group responds, and leader chooses 2-3 to group into sound/movement sequences.
2. Personal feeling (how would you move/walk if you were heavy, light, carrying a boulder, feather, etc.)
a. Leader says a word and students communicate that word in the way they move.
b. After the first one is completed, discuss the intention and motivation.
c. can add having students observe what they changed in order to communicate each given word clearly (tension in different parts of the body? change in the swing of the arms? length of stride? leading part?)
3. Review all Forces and Motion 4 Square words

Day 2
1. Introduce and practice 3 mime techniques:
a. Hands show the shape of the object you’re touching
i. In order to communicate that an object is solid, your hand must be still when you’re touching the object.
ii. When you let go of the object, you must let go of the shape. Your hand displays the opposite shape. (Flat to round. Movement to stillness. The oppositions clearly communicate the intent.)
b. Properties of a sphere:
i. Hand is round when it is on and flat when it comes off
ii. Practice moving body while keeping sphere still. the more relaxed the arm, the more still the object.
c. Dropping and catching: in slow motion first, in order to train the muscles to move in the proper sequence, then at regular speed
i. Play catch with a partner: must catch the ball the way it is thrown to you. You may throw it back in any way (easy, fast, bounce it, roll it, throw it high)
2. Introduce balls that have varying size and mass. Have students practice tossing balls to each other and miming that same activity.
3. Review all Forces and Motion 4 Square words

Day 3
1. Put pictures of different sized solid objects in their natural environment/replica in paper bags (anchor, marble, feather, shoe lace, bowling ball, bouncy ball, soda can, boulder, wrecking ball, leaf, wood chip, twig/stick, light bulb, piece of paper, straw, pine needle, pine cone, acorn, charcoal, mirror, sand paper, gravel).
2. Have students pick a bag and have them write a description of their object using science vocabulary. Students will go to each description and try to guess the object. (gallery walk)
a. How much force would it take to move this object?
b. What is the result of this object hitting another object?
c. Can you use one of Newton’s Laws to describe your object?
d. What is the density of your object?
e. What would you use to measure the weight of your object?
f. Using your five senses, describe your object.
g. How does the surface of your object affect friction?
3. Choose a Forces and Motion concept to mime (friction, momentum, change in mass and movement of objects, Newton’s Laws, direction in which an object travels, etc.)
4. Students begin planning/practicing how to mime their concept.

Day 4
1. Begin with a song or poem that highlights the Forces and Motion concepts (Gravity song to the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down”, “Force” poem on Mr. R’s World of Math and Science,
2. Haiku:
a. Newton is a guy
b. Hit by apples, not to cry
c. Three Laws now to try
3. Students plan and rehearse their miming performance of the Forces and Motion concept their group has chosen.

Day 5
1. Begin with another song or poem that highlights the Forces and Motion concepts
2. Students present their miming performance to the class.
3. Students will choose another group’s performance and write a description of the performance using Forces and Motion vocabulary words.

Differentiation Approaches

1. English Language Learners: use of students’ vocabulary 4 square notebooks, motions and images that complement and supplement science vocabulary
2. Students with ADD: unit has been chunked so that students are moving and smoothly transitioning often, visual procedures
3. Students with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome: visual and verbal procedures, clear expectations and directions
4. Students who are differently abled: groups will differentiate according to their groupmates’ needs
5. Visual impairment: tactile manipulatives in the bag activity, large print text
6. Students who complete the work quickly and carelessly: redirection, provide a rubric to self-evaluate completion of objectives
7. Students who complete the work quickly and successfully: develop another miming performance for another Forces and Motion, groups develop a script (speaking) to extend their activity
8. SLD: give them exposure to content-rich text, time for inter-personal development, peer and teacher scaffolding, think time


1. Rubric (miming and writing)
2. Modeling
3. Rehearsal
4. Performance

Follow Up and Extension Ideas

1. This is easily interchangeable to any other subject area (read-aloud, math-3D figures, Social Studies, etc.).
2. How do we share this with families?
1. Timing these arts integrated units with ideal times for parents to observe units that their students have created.
2. Events take place in the Gym
3. Include a buddy class in an arts integrated lesson so that more parents attend
4. Invite buddy class to attend their presentation.

Additional Details

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