Understanding By Design Unit/Lesson Template
Title of Unit Forces and Motion Grade Level 6th Grade
Curriculum Area Science Time Frame 4 weeks
Developed By Todd Wright
Rationale for retooling current lesson
For my lesson plan I chose to revamp a very successful 4th grade science activity to fit the sixth grade
curriculum I am teaching in now. The original lesson was an egg drop activity designed to connect my students
to the Phoenix Mars Lander Mission. As I was working on it last year I had a lot of ideas for extended learning
but lacked the time to implement them. I hope to use the new version to teach force and motion concepts later
this year and am excited to learn the UbD format.
21st Century skills or Classroom Instruction That Works strategies used
Homework and practice: Once my students learn the formula for velocity I will begin some classes by having
them calculate it for simple motion events. The hands on practice will make sure students not only remember
the formula but also know how to apply it.
Generating and testing hypotheses: My students will be asked to use their prior knowledge along with logic to
form a behavior hypotheses for the outcome of a motion event. They will then test their hypotheses and attempt
to explain the results based on their observations.
Cooperative learning: Students will create and observe motion events with a desired effect in mind while
working in groups. This way students can discuss their ideas for completing a task while using our vocabulary
Identifying similarities and differences: We will use Venn diagrams to discuss the similarities and differences
between weight and mass.
Nonlinguistic representations: Students will include a visual representation next to the written definition of our
force and motion vocabulary.
21st Century skills: Students will be able to use video editing software to collect accurate data on a motion
Identify Desired Results (Stage 1)
Force and Motion
Develop and understanding of motion and forces and be able to make connections to real life situations.
Understand that motion is relative and all around us.
Define and explain how friction affects the motion of objects.
Define and apply the concept of gravity to explain how it affects motion.
Understand the different types of speed and be able to calculate speed and velocity.
Define and explain acceleration.
Discover results through lab experiments.
Collect, record, analyze, and chart/graph accurate data in experiments.
Organize data into a useful, logical format.
Interpret results in order to draw relevant conclusions based on their data.
Understandings Essential Questions
Overarching Understandings Overarching Topical
A. Everything that has mass, has gravity. 1. Why to things fall down? 1. What is gravity, and what
determines it's strength?
B. Math can be used to describe and predict motion. 2. Do falling objects go faster the
longer they fall? 2. What role does force and motion
C. Motion is often effected by a combination of forces. in our every day lives?
3. What can help us understand
Topical Understandings and describe motion? 3. What would your world be like
A. The velocity of a moving object relative to a stationary object can be without friction?
calculated by using the formula
V = Distance/Time. 4. What effect does air resistance
have on different falling objects?
B. Graphing velocity can be helpful when explaining motion observations.
5. Why is measuring force and
C. An object falling in a vacuum will behave differently than an object falling motion important?
with wind resistance.
D. Many factors such as shape, mass, volume, and aerodynamics can be
manipulated to change the velocity of a falling object outside a vacuum.
E. Video evidence and video editing programs such as imovie can help a
physicist measure force and motion.
Students will know… Students will be able to…
Students will know how to use physics laws and formulas that involve force Students will be able to create a recovery system that will use wind
and motion to predict and change the outcome of a motion event. resistance to keep an egg from breaking during free fall.
Students will know how to use technology as a tool for observation and Students will be able to use video editing software and basic force and
statistical information. motion formulas to create a graphic representation of their eggs motion
Assessment Evidence (Stage 2)
Performance Task Description
Goal Goal: To design an effective recovery system of a free falling object in the Earth's atmosphere
Role Role: You are a NASA engineer working on wind resistance models.
Audience Audience: The target audience is NASA project leaders looking for an effective free fall recovery design.
Situation: You are a NASA engineer that is competing with other engineers to design a recovery method that slows the velocity
of a falling object using only wind resistance.
Product Performance and Purpose: You must design your model, video tape test falls using your model, explain its
Product/Performance performance using a graph, and write a debriefing of the major events that occurred during the test falls using force and
motion vocabulary and equations.
Standards and criteria for success: Your recovery method should...
- Take advantage of wind resistance and slow down the velocity of your cargo (egg).
- Have an accurate graph attached that describes the velocity changes from drop to landing.
- Have a written debriefing of major events with time periods, force and motion vocabulary, and completed equations.
Test and quizzes - associated with chapters and lessons in the force and motion unit.
Observations and dialogues - Have students debate the pros and cons of having more then one parachute attached to the cargo and the most effective
shape for the chutes.
Learning Plan (Stage 3)
Where are your students headed? Where have By the end of this unit my students will know the 6th grade force and motion vocabulary along
they been? How will you make sure the with simple formulas for calculating speed and velocity. I will make sure the students know
students know where they are going? where they are going by giving them an outline of lessons activities and labs that will take them
to the final performance assessment.
How will you hook students at the beginning of The students will be introduced to the force and motion unit by video taping an egg drop off of
the unit? the roof of the school. We will use video editing software to obtain information needed for
calculating speed and velocity. This activity will start the discussion about net forces and
What events will help students experience and The daily activities, labs, and the performance task will allow students to experience and explore
explore the big idea and questions in the unit? the force and motion concepts first hand both alone and in group situations. Through engaging
How will you equip them with needed skills and lessons, videos, and labs, my students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to
knowledge? understand the force and motion content.
How will you cause students to reflect and The students will face many real world situations where force and motion concepts can be
rethink? How will you guide them in rehearsing, applied. It will be up to them to discuss the best ways to determine the speed and velocity
revising, and refining their work? during each motion event.
How will you help students to exhibit and self- My students will exhibit and self evaluate their skills by checking and adding to their KWL charts
evaluate their growing skills, knowledge, and as they complete hands on assignments and labs throughout the unit.
understanding throughout the unit?
How will you tailor and otherwise personalize The complexity of the motion events used in demonstrations and in labs can be modified to
the learning plan to optimize the engagement account for varying ability levels. The same basic concepts would be taught and learning would
and effectiveness of ALL students, without not be compromised.
compromising the goals of the unit?
How will you organize and sequence the I will begin with an attention getting introduction to the unit that models the final performance
learning activities to optimize the engagement assessment. Everything they learn during instruction and lab lessons can be tied to the skills
and achievement of ALL students? and knowledge they will need to be successful.
Please include a narrative of your lesson if it This lesson fits in the curriculum at the end of the force and motion unit in a sixth grade science
warrants further explanation as well as all classroom.
handouts, assessments, and activities you have
prepared thus far. 1. Review force and motion key concepts and vocabulary through senteno smartboard clickers.
(Students can click in their answers and the computer graphs each students scores. this info will
help me focus on students who might be struggling with concepts from this lesson.)
2. Introduce the NASA project by showing students short video clips of mars rovers and Phoenix
Lander recovery systems. (These are missions NASA has recently completed that involve wind
3. Tell students that they are all NASA engineers that are competing for a design grant to build
the next air resistant recovery system. They will have to apply everything they have learned in
their lives about physics to successfully complete this mission. Everything from the time they
locked up the front breaks on their huffy, to the notes and lab write ups they completed from
science class will be absolutely essential to do well on this task.
4. Students will then meet their test dummies (eggs) and head outside with a parent or teacher
volunteer while I head to the roof. The students will then see a large rope with knots every
meter, draped over the side of the building. Below a 4x8 piece of plywood will be laying as my
landing spot. I will have my parent volunteer video tape the egg fall making sure that the rope is
visible in the shot. Student volunteers will use stop watches to time the fall from drop to splat.
5. We will return to the room where the camera footage will be uploaded to the imovie program
and I will begin to explain how to use imovie to determine the speed at different intervals using
the timer for the video and the position of the egg relative to the rope.
6. By the end of this first introduction my students heads should be swimming with thoughts of
how to prevent their egg from meeting the same fate.
I know this is a lot to fit in but I think this can be accomplished if the students stay on task and
understand my lab behavior expectations.
From: Wiggins, Grant and J. Mc Tighe. (1998). Understanding by Design, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
ISBN # 0-87120-313-8 (ppk)