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HOW DOES YOUR BICYCLE WORK?

Activity #4 - A Forceful Pair


Approximate Time Required 1 hour
Key Questions
What is an action-reaction? When you walk, jump, skip, or hop, does the
ground react to your action?

Student Learning
In addition to the competencies listed in the next section, students will:
• predict what will happen when they jump on a trampoline, a springboard, and
the floor;
• observe what happens when they jump on a trampoline, a springboard, and the
floor;
• draw conclusions about the effect of mass on action-reaction pairs; and
• apply their knowledge of action-reaction pairs to describe how their bike moves.

Competencies
Science and Competency 1: To take action, bearing in mind the
Technology different types of reasoning specific to science and
technology
• The student defines a problem related to science and
technology
• Characteristic: Highlights scientific and technological
elements of the problem
• The student proposes a solution to the problem
• Characteristics: Clarifies his/her tentative explanations
that are consistent with ideas recognized by the
scientific and technological community
Competency 3: To propose acceptable explanations in
appropriate scientific and technological languages

Cross-Curricular Competency 1: To use information


Competency 3: To exercise critical judgment
Intellectual Competency 1: To use effective work methods
Methodological Competency 3: To work with others
Personal and Social Competency 1: To communicate appropriately
Communication-Related
Areas of Lifelong The student takes action in the natural and built
Learning environment to foster harmony and sustainable
development.
Focuses:
Environmental • awareness and understanding of the characteristics of
Awareness the natural and built environment
• awareness of interdependence between systems and
human activity
Links to other Subject Competency 4: The student interacts in the role of sender
Areas and receiver
Language Arts
Physical Education Competency 1: To perform movement skills in different
and Health physical activity settings

Materials
Per class Per student Per group
• Balls of the same size and weight
(mass)
• Bottles of water of different
weights [masses], but the same
size
• Worksheet

Constructivist Activity Steps


Role of Teacher Role of
Student
Engage Ask the students to walk. Ask them to describe Engage in
what they did. (Ans: pushing ground). Ask the teacher-
students to jump. Ask them to describe what they directed
did. (Ans: pushing ground with more force). activities.

Following this activity, ask students how one can Answer


apply more force to the ground. (Ans:by jumping, teacher
skipping, etc.). Make sure that students questions.
understand that the more force they apply, the
stronger the movement. (For example, the further
you are pushed back, the higher you jump.)
Individual Ask students what happens when they jump on a Predict what
predictions trampoline, a springboard, and the floor. Guide will happen
students using appropriate questions and when s/he
demonstrations (on thetrampoline) to understand jumps on a
thatthere is an opposite reaction for trampoline, a
every action. (The student pushes down and then springboard,
goesup; the more force s/he applies, the higher and the floor.
s/he jumps.) Because the trampoline “floor”is
stretchy and light, and its mass and a child’s mass
are somewhat equal, one can see the reaction to
the action.
(Mass is the quantity of matter
in a body. See the definition in the vocabulary list
for the distinction between mass and
weight. For simplicity for these young students,
you may want to explain the difference but
then use the more familiar term weight instead of
mass.) In the case of earth, one cannot see
it react (push back) because the mass of the
earth and the child are extremely unequal.

Acceleration is inversely proportional to mass.


(The bigger the mass, the less the acceleration.)
Therefore, we cannot see the very small
acceleration of the earth (the movement of the
earth as it reacts).
Group predictions
Activity/Experiment By means of questioning techniques, lead students Go to the gym
to conclude that the trampoline reacts to their and, under the
action of pushing down by pushing back up. Have teacher’s
the student jump on a springboard and explain direction, jump
what is happening (What is the on the
action? What is the reaction? ) trampoline, the
springboard,
Ask students what the difference is between the and the floor.
springboard experiment and the trampoline
experiment. (Ans: The spring board does not Answer
react with as much force as the trampoline teacher
because it is has more mass; one has to apply questions.
more force because it has more mass. It requires
more force to push it, and a child will
push it less far than s/he will the trampoline.
Therefore, the springboard sends the child less
high. Also, the springboard has more mass than
the child.)

Repeat the same activity on the ground. Ask the


students to explain why the ground does not
react. (They should now know that the ground has
much more mass than the student. There is a
reaction, but it is not visible).
Group discussion To be done during the experiment.
Group reports why predictions were accurate or inaccurate.
Short explanation
Apply to a new Set up materials (balls and bottles). Hand out Conduct
situation worksheet #1. Guide the students throughout the experiment
experiment. Have students predict reactions under
to actions and then verify their results: teacher’s
1. Hit empty bottle by rolling direction, fill
the ball and ask students what the action is out worksheet
(rolling of the ball) and what thereaction is (the #1, and answer
bottle pushing back and the ball coming back). teacher
2. Repeat with progressively heavier bottles (but questions.
samesize): add water in bottle. Have the students
predict how the reaction of the bottle will differ.
They should conclude that the heavier the object
(the most mass), the less visible the reaction
(but is nonetheless present) because for every
force (action), there is an equal and opposite
force(reaction).

Question the students to uncover and address


misconceptions they may have. Ask students to
explain how their bicycle works and how it
moves.

Vocabulary List
Acceleration: Action-reaction: Force:
The rate at which A pair of forces; Any influence that tends to
speed and the A acts on B accelerate an object, i.e.
direction of (action) and B acts change its speed and
movement is changing on A (reaction) direction of movement; a
push or a pull

Mass:
The amount of matter in a body. (Weight is the force upon a body due to
gravity and is not the same as mass. A person has a different weight on
the earth and on the moon, but his/her mass is the same in both places.)

Evaluation Idea
Evaluate the ability of the students to scientifically explain pairs of forces.

Extension
Have the students push two objects: one small and one big (the smaller one being
heavier than the big one).
Conclusion: The weight (mass) of the object and not its SIZE affects the extent of the
reaction of the object.

Teacher Comments from Field Testing


• Discussion and interaction was highly motivational for the students and teacher.
• Students were very enthusiastic about the topic of discussion.