Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Identify the forces discussed in the text, and describe the role each one plays as riders travel up and down hills and upside down through loops of a roller coaster.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Determine the meaning of selected academic or domain-specific words in the text.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
In regards to science:
- Students should have prior knowledge about forces, or pushes or pulls applied to an object. They should have an understanding that forces can be contact forces (friction- a force that opposes the motion of a body across a surface or through a gas or liquid) as well as forces that act at a distance (gravity- a force that exists between any two objects that have mass). These sites provide background about the forces of gravity and friction:
- An understanding of energy transformation would be helpful. Students should understand that mechanical energy is the energy an object has because of its motion or its position. Students should know that potential energy is the amount of energy that is stored in an object, an energy that an object has because of its position relative to other objects. They should understand that kinetic energy is the energy an object has because of its motion.
- A discussion of the definition of centripetal force would be beneficial. Centripetal force is the force that is necessary to keep an object moving in a curved path and that is directed inward toward the center of rotation. A review of Newton's First Law of Motion would also help in understanding the article: An object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction, unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Also, students should review inertia, an object's resistance to a change in motion. Remind students that inertia is NOT a force. The following video reviews centripetal force and Newton's First Law of Motion:
In regards to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text. For this lesson, prior experience in using context clues to determine the meaning of words in a text would be beneficial, as well as dictionary skills.
- Based on the rubric provided with this lesson, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next. Teachers might wish to provide students with a sheet of transitions to help them with their written response for the summative assessment. This site provides transitions teachers might provide.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
Please use the questions below throughout the lesson to help guide students' thinking:
1. A roller coaster does not have an engine to generate energy. How does it build up a supply of potential energy that will be used to move the train along the track?
The roller coaster does not have energy to pull it up the first hill. The climb to the top of the first hill is accomplished by the use of a lift or cable that pulls the train up. As a result, potential energy is built up that will be transformed into kinetic energy as the train goes down the hill, pulled by the force of gravity.
2. How does the height of the first hill of a roller coaster affect the train?
The higher the hill, the more potential energy is built up. The roller coaster will have more kinetic energy released as it travels down a higher hill and the train will go faster. The kinetic energy released from the trip down the first hill will help the train get to the top of the next hill, building back up a store of potential energy. However, due to friction and wind resistance, hills tend to be lower as the ride progresses because less energy is available to move the coaster along.
3. How does the wheel design prevent cars from flipping off the track?
Roller coasters are primarily wooden or steel. Wooden roller coasters generally do not have complex loops because they are more inflexible than steel tracks. Tubular steel tracks have nylon or polyurethane (a type of plastic) wheels that run along the top, bottom, and side of the tube. These wheels secure the train to the track as it travels through loops and turns.
4. Towards the end of the text, there are two misconceptions presented about inertia and acceleration. Explain these two misconceptions and why they are incorrect.
The first misconception is the sentence that states, "Inertia is the force that presses your body to the outside of the loop as the train spins around." It is a misconception because inertia is NOT a force. Inertia is an object's resistance to a change in motion.
The second misconception is the sentence that states, "Although gravity is pulling you toward the earth, at the very top the acceleration force is stronger than gravity and is pulling you upwards, thus counteracting gravity." Again, it is centripetal force that is counteracting gravity. Acceleration is a change in velocity- speed, direction, or both. Acceleration is NOT a force.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
Lesson opener/attention getter:
1. Begin the lesson by asking the students the question: "How many of you have been on a roller coaster? Have you been on one that has loops and allows riders to travel upside down?"
Some students are likely to say one or more of the following:
- They have not been on a roller coaster before.
- They have not been on a roller coaster that goes upside down.
- They are afraid to go on roller coasters.
- They have never been to an amusement park to see a roller coaster.
Tell the students that the lesson today will be about the physics of roller coasters. To provide background for all students about roller coasters, show part or all of the , "Top 10: Best New Roller Coasters 2015."
Before starting the video, tell the students to identify the physics at work in the roller coasters they see. Then play part or all of the video.
2. Next, ask the class to identify examples of forces and motion that were evident in the video. Write the terms they provide on the whiteboard or chart paper.
Students are likely to say gravity, friction, speed, kinetic energy, potential energy, force, acceleration, Newton’s Law of Motion, inertia.
3. Next, ask the class: "What is centripetal force?"
If students are not able to provide the correct definition, tell the class that centripetal force is "the force that is necessary to keep an object moving in a curved path and that is directed inward toward the center of rotation."
Demonstrate centripetal force using a bucket of water or a penny in a balloon, or teachers might show this video.
4. End the discussion by informing the students that they will be reading an article that answers the question, "Why don't I fall out when a roller coaster goes upside down?"
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. Provide each student with a copy of the article "Everyday Mysteries: Why Don't I Fall Out When a Roller Coaster Goes Upside Down?" For class discussions that will follow, it might be helpful to have students number each paragraph. Have them number the first paragraph starting with the sentence "Have you ever wondered how roller coasters stay on their tracks and why people can hang upside down in them?" There are seven paragraphs total.
2. Provide each student with a handout for guided practice.
3. Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: "Everyday Mysteries: Why Don't I Fall Out When a Roller Coaster Goes Upside Down?"
- Subtitle: Gravity is counteracted by the force of acceleration, which is the force that pushes you forward.
- Headings: Fun Facts
- Captions: Located under each photograph
4. Have students complete the definitions during or after their first reading of the text. Students should have access to print or online dictionaries if needed. They can label the graphic at the bottom of the handout after their first reading of the text. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
Note: Based on the needs and skills of the students, teachers can increase the number of vocabulary words students will define on the handout.
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment):
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by having students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
2. Teachers can use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
Inertia is NOT a force. Acceleration is NOT a force.
Remind students that many words have multiple meanings. In physical science, a force is a push or a pull. Examples of forces include gravity, friction, and magnetic force. Force has several non-scientific meanings as well. In paragraph 6, it states, "Inertia is the force that presses your body to the outside of the loop as the train spins around." It is a misconception because inertia is NOT a force. Inertia is an object's resistance to a change in motion. As the roller coaster goes through a loop, the track causes the roller coaster to change direction by applying a centripetal force. Without the track forcing the train to move in a circular path, the train no longer has a center-directed force acting on it to cause it to move in that curved path. Gravity pulls the riders down, but inertia pushes the riders to the outside of the loop.
In paragraph 6, it states, "Although gravity is pulling you toward the earth, at the very top the acceleration force is stronger than gravity and is pulling you upwards, thus counteracting gravity." It is centripetal force that is counteracting gravity. Acceleration is a change in velocity—speed, direction, or both. Acceleration is NOT a force. The author might have used the word force with this meaning: "a strength or power exerted upon an object." Students should be reminded to read carefully when they encounter words with multiple meanings.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for understanding?):
1. Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
2. Teachers can use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
Please see the text-dependent questions sample answer key.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
1. Before students complete the writing prompt, be sure to review and provide feedback on responses to the text-dependent questions as a class.
2. After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided written sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with an LCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- Have students examine how the topic is introduced in the opening sentences of the introductory paragraph. (Students often struggle with ideas in how to start a written response, and they often want to repeat the prompt back in the first sentence because they are not sure what other options they have. Go over how this writer opened his or her piece of writing. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.)
- Have students identify where textual evidence is used to support the writer's main points.
- Have students identify where domain-specific vocabulary is used correctly and effectively (e.g., gravity, potential energy, kinetic energy, friction, centripetal force, non-contact force).
- Teachers might want students to use the rubric to provide a score for the sample written response and have them justify the score they gave, possibly providing revision suggestions for any categories they scored lower than a 3 or 4.
3. At the very end of the lesson, teachers might want to use one or more of the guiding questions on an exit ticket for students to complete.
1. Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
2. Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
3. Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address.
The prompt: Roller coasters are designed using the physics of force and motion. There are several contact and non-contact forces at work during a ride on a roller coaster. Identify each of the forces discussed in the text, and describe the role each one plays as riders travel up and down hills and upside down through loops of a roller coaster. Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
4. Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for providing Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond."