Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 3/Elementary/Benchmark 2
Instructional Example

Benchmark Question: What forces are needed to impact the motion of a moving object?

Focus Question: Why do things move as they do?

Students in small groups will brainstorm everyday situations (i.e., swinging a baseball bat, pushing a merry-go-round, pedaling a bike) in which forces act upon an object to change its speed or direction. They will draw diagrams that include labels and arrows to describe the speed and direction of motion. They will present their diagrams to the entire class.

Small groups will experiment with forces needed to push or pull an object. Each group will choose a vehicle (wagon, car, truck) and design a course that contains a variety of surfaces (grass, sand, and concrete) and a variety of terrains (hills, curves, flat surfaces). Students will measure the distance around the course, the time it takes to complete the course, and record their data in the table given below:













Push & Pull




Students will navigate the course three times. First, they will push the object. Second, they will pull the object. Third, they will use a combination of pushes and pulls. Students will move the object as far as they can, measure the distance, and record the measurements in their data table. Students will make written observations in their science journals of their difficulties navigating the course.



Science/Strand IV/Content Standard 3/Elementary/Benchmark 2
Assessment Example

Using the data from the Instructional Example, students will write answers to the following questions:

  1. Which surface required the most force? Why?
  2. Which force (push or pull) took less effort in the sand?
  3. If you were pulling a heavy load, which surface would you like to travel on? Why?
  4. Why are bowling alleys smooth and hard?

(Give students rubric before activity.)

Scoring Rubric

This is pass/fail. If the student answers three of the four questions correctly, then he or she passes:

  1. The answer to Question #1 reflects the need to include sand and more friction.
  2. The answer to Question #2 reflects the need to include pull.
  3. The answer to Question #3 reflects the need to include concrete as well as reduced friction and force.
  4. The answer to Question #4 reflects the need to include less force and very little friction