Beginning our unit on Newton’s Laws and force this semester, I made a pledge to myself to make sure my students are involved with the unit. I took a quote from the Science Teacher blog’s sidebar:
Science is not about content–the content is ephemeral, it’s the process that matters.
The first step was getting students to gather what they already know about the world and apply it the principles we are covering. First topic was gravity and friction’s role in motion. A lab was set up where the students had a marble, file folder, and tape with the objective of making the marble roll the farthest (no throwing or other outside force allowed, we’ll get to that in simple machines). The lab wasn’t perfect, we completely whiffed on what I was hoping to accomplish. However, we made a new discovery (for us) and the students were more creative than I have seen them all year. A big step in the right direction. Two of the sets are below, guess what we discovered?