Acceleration, Drag, Gravity, Motion, Forces, and Friction

Course(s)/Subject(s): Investigating Matter and Energy

Grade Level(s):8th grade

Key Words: Forces, Velocity, Acceleration, Slide show

Developer(s) Name:W. Ed Mathews

School:Sandburg Middle School

Attached Files: CaranalysisForm

Approximate Time Frame: Two - three days w/ 50 minute periods(note:cars are made at home and brought to school when needed)

Materials/Equipment Needed:Video camera or desktop video camera, camera, ClarisWorks, Windows on Science or Glencoe videodisc(s),and student-made mousetrap cars.

Description of Lesson (includes context):Motion and forces is the third module in the 8th grade physical science curriculum. As a product of this unit, students make and study mousetrap cars to facilitate and apply their understanding of acceleration, drag, gravity, motion, forces, and friction.


  1. What is the objective of this lesson? Students make and study mousetrap cars to facilitate and apply their understanding of acceleration, drag, gravity, motion, forces, and friction.

FCPS POS Standards: Energy and Its Transformations

FCPS POS Benchmarks:8.1.6, 8.1.8, 8.1.9, 8.1.10

FCPS POS Indicators:8.1.6-1, 8.1.8-1, 8.1.8-3, 8.1.9-1, 8.1.9-2, 8.1.9-3, 8.1.10- 4

VA SOL(s) (including Computer/Technology):


6.10, PS 1, PS 5, PS 6, and PS 10


C/T 8.1, C/T 8.2, C/T 8.3, C/T 8.4


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  1. What will we examine as evidence of students' knowledge and/or skill?

Product(s):mousetrap car project to apply understanding of physical phenomena and a
slide show produced to document the vehicle's performance

Performance(s):computer spreadsheet for vehicle performance data analysis, various hardware in documenting the performance of their car

Other:creativity in producing the slide show of their car's performance


  1. What exactly will the students and teacher do during the lesson?

Directions to students for proceeding with the lesson:

  1. Students make the mousetrap car per instruction form.
  2. Students will run their respective car measuring the following variables:distance
    traveled in meters, time in seconds, and mass of car in kilograms.
  3. Students will create a spreadsheet for data using the format provided. They will
    calculate for their respective car: average speed in m/s, and kinetic energy in joules.
  4. Students will create a five frame slide show in ClarisWorks to visually explain how
    their respective mousetrap carwas built. Included will be diagrams explaining the
    materials used, forces on car, and table of measurement results.

Directions to teacher/administrator using the lesson?

  1. Provide written instructions for students on building car.
  2. Provide (if available) ready-made cars for students to observe and use as models.
  3. Provide students measurement devices:triple beam balance and meter stick.
  4. Provide students with directions for creating a spreadsheet in ClarisWorks .
  5. Provide students with directions for creating a ClarisWorks slide show.


  1. What options in presentation(s) and/or response(s) are suggested in order to provide the opportunity for all students to demonstrate achievement of the benchmark(s) and indicator(s)?

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