General Information
Subject(s): Science, Mathematics
Grade Level(s): 9
Suggested Technology:
Computers for Students, Microsoft Office, Smart Phone/Tablet
Instructional Time:
4 Hour(s)
Keywords: energy transformation, slope, kinetic energy, potential energy, speed
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Lesson Content

Lesson Plan Template:
General Lesson Plan

Learning Objectives: What will students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
Students will build a slide that is fun yet safe. They will begin by constructing a tower out of various building materials of their own choice. The building materials will be priced, so the students will not only have to think of a design, but will also have to think of making it cost effective. The structure will have to be sturdy enough to support the weight of a crosscut pool noodle. The tower will need to have three different heights where the pool noodle can be inserted to give the slide varying heights. This tower has to be tall enough to give the rider of the slide a fun yet safe experience. Fun would equal faster and safe would be determined by whether or not the bounce ball stayed on the slide throughout the entire length of the slide.
Students will:
 Build a fun yet safe slide
 Calculate slope
 Describe and demonstrate the transfer of energy on a slide (potential, kinetic, and thermal)
 Collaborate in groups and manage a budget

Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
Students should:
 Have a basic understanding of how slope is determined
 Be able to identify different types of energy

Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
 What are some examples of energy transformation?
 How do you predict energy will transfer on the slide?
 How is slope determined?
 What is your plan to find the slope of the slide?

Engage: What object, event, or questions will the teacher use to trigger the students' curiosity and engage them in the concepts?
Introduce the challenge by showing students a video clip of the Volkswagen Slide, uploaded by Volkswagen. After, discuss with students how in every theme park ride, engineering and scientific principles are used to find ways to make a ride fun yet safe.
Explain to students that they will be using a pool noodle as a slide and testing its slope using a ball. The goal is to move the ball as fast as possible without it falling off the slide. Students will need to design a tower that has at least three sections of varying heights in which the slide (pool noodle) can be inserted. Their goal is to determine which slope will be the most safe, fun, and cost effective. They will also need to describe how energy is being transformed within the system in reference to the high bounce ball being stationary at the peak until it remains stationary after it has traveled down the slide.
For full instructions and student worksheets, see the attached files.

Explore: What will the students do to explore the concepts and skills being developed through the lesson?
Using the attached PowerPoint to guide the lesson, review the concepts of energy transformation, the different forms of energy, and the mathematical concept of slope. Practice the problems that are included on the presentation slides.
Students should record the formula in their notes along with examples. Remind students to consider how to calculate the slope knowing the height and distance, as they will be calculating the slope of their slide at three different heights. The slope determines how "safe" and "fun" the slides are. A large slope means the slide is unsafe, but too low would not be fun.
For full instructions and student worksheets, see the attached files.

Explain: What will the students and teacher do so students have opportunities to clarify their ideas, reach a conclusion or generalization, and communicate what they know to others?
 Students will have five minutes to brainstorm about a slide design that is safe, fun, and cost effective. During this time, circulate the classroom and visit each table. Students should be drawing/writing their ideas. Ask students if they have any questions and answer them when applicable.
 Students will have 20 minutes to combine their brainstorm ideas into one design. Circulate the room and prompt students to share individual ideas about materials and design. Students should adhere to the following guidelines:
 Each person shares their idea. Then as a group, decide which designs or combinations you will use.
 The slide and tower will be safe.
 Decide what materials you will use and their cost. Remember your budget of $2,500. Refer to budget pricing list included here.
 Make a drawing of how the new combined idea tower will look.
 Create a chart to demonstrate how energy is being transferred (you can include that in your drawing).
 Describe how you will determine the slope at each section of your tower.
 Your design must be approved by the teacher before you begin construction.
 Describe the following procedure students will follow once their design is approved:
 Students must use the provided pool noodle and bouncy ball. The building materials for the tower will be chosen by the student groups. A list of materials will be provided by the teacher to each group.
 Each student will have a job. One job will be the materials gatherer/handler. He/she will have to go to the teacher table with the group’s purchase order list and get selected material from the “store/teacher.” Other jobs will include a person who releases the ball and the person who records data.
 You will only have 80 minutes to build your tower and 40 minutes to test the slide.
 Each group has a budget of $2,500.
 If you finish designing early, be sure that the slide fits into the inserts, all materials have been used that were purchased, and the cup is attached securely to the end of the slide to catch the marble.
 As students are building their towers, circulate the classroom and engage students who are not participating. Some questions you can ask include: “How did you come up with this design?” or “Have you ever done anything like this before?” Make sure that all students are given the opportunity to help create the design. If you notice students unengaged, you can ask them, “What have you contributed to this design?” or “Can you help this student with this part?”
 Students will need to record their building process. The person that is assigned as the data collector should collect information at each stage of building by taking pictures of their progress and including descriptions with their reasons for the designs. Descriptions will be recorded stepbystep in logbook.
 Students will compile digital images into an electronic presentation format such as Powerpoint, Prezi, or iMovie.
For full instructions and student worksheets, see the attached files.

Elaborate: What will the students do to apply their conceptual understanding and skills to solve a problem, make a decision, perform a task, or make sense of new knowledge?
 Each group will be given their respective pool noodles and bouncy balls. Several trials will need to be done at each height of the tower. Students will start with their pool noodles attached to the tower at the lowest position. At least three trials will be done at this height before the noodle is moved up. Once each group has had their three trials, the noodles can be moved up. Repeat this for every level on the towers. Students should be recording and calculating the slope of each height for later reflection.
 Student designs will be deemed successful as long as the tower is a freestanding structure that was sturdy enough to hold the weight of the pool noodle and the bouncy ball. Also, the tower needs to be tall, but cannot be so tall that the ball cannot stay on the slide, which would indicate that the slide is not safe. The design would also need to be steep enough that the ball makes its way down the slide at a decent pace (around 3 seconds or less) to indicate that the slide is fast enough to be considered fun.
 After testing, have the students compare the different designs using the following discussion prompts:
 Did any groups have similar designs?
 Why were some designs more successful than others?
 Why were some slides safer than others, but just as fun?
 Have teams reconvene and give them ten minutes to discuss ways to improve their slides. During this time, circulate the classroom and visit each table. Ask questions, such as: "How are you going to improve your design?" or "What changes are you making to your design and why are you making them?"
 Follow the same procedure to test the new slides. After testing, have the students compare the different designs using the following discussion prompts:
 Did your team's design meet the goal? Why or why not?
 Did your design improve? How do you know?
 Are there any changes you would still like to make to your design?

Summative Assessment
 Students should complete posttest (see attached file, including answer key).
 Students will give a final presentation made using PowerPoint, Prezi, Google Slides, or similar format. Students should restate the problem, document testing procedures and results, share photos, and analyze results. They should include any mathematical calculations and formulas used to find the slope of the slide and speed of the ball.

Formative Assessment
Formative assessment will occur throughout the activity. During the planning stages the teacher will circulate and observe how students are working at solving the problem.
During the testing phase the teacher should also be circulating and noting any problems the students could be having. If students are not following the guidelines, direct them back using questions such as:
 Have you used your entire budget? Why or why not?
 Is there something different you could do to help?
 Is this slide safe? Describe to me what we decided was considered safe?
 How fast is your slide? How do you know? Show me your calculations.

Feedback to Students
Students will receive feedback from the teacher periodically as the teacher circulates around the classroom asking questions about the design and building process.

(Optional) Universal Design for Learning (UDL): How will the teacher structure this lesson to include the concepts of universal design for learning?
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Accommodations & Recommendations
Accommodations:
 Picture or photo examples of tower structures can be given to get students thinking or started in the right direction as far as their designs. These examples can be of student generated structures from similar projects (i.e. spaghetti towers, straw towers, or craft stick bridges).
 Students can be given extra spending money to account for misspent money.
 The teacher can give assistance to help students build or secure portions of the structure if they are having too much difficulty with the project.
 The teacher can read the directions aloud to the student to ensure understanding.
 Complex directions will be explained/reworded.
 Careful arrangement of heterogeneous groups should be done to allow all students to succeed.

Suggested Technology: Computers for Students, Microsoft Office, Smart Phone/Tablet
Special Materials Needed:
 Masking tape
 Straws
 Coffee straws
 Uncooked spaghetti noodles
 Craft sticks
 Index cards
 Rulers
 Yard sticks
 Pool tube
 Styrofoam cup
 Highbounce ball
 Folder to keep as log book
Students may use personal devices to take photos or use class iPads, if available.
Further Recommendations:
Pool tubes should be cut in half lengthwise to open the tube and allow the ball to be placed into the groove. Pipe insulation also works as another option, but these are smaller and would require you to switch to marbles instead of bounce balls, but the effects would be similar. View example here.
Additional Information/Instructions
By Author/Submitter
Career Technical Standards:
 04.0  Draw basic plans by hand.
 01.0  Plan the construction of a model or architectural detail from a set of plans.
The student will be able to:
 07.01  Calculate material quantities and costs.
 07.02  Determine the critical path as a progression of construction activities.
Optional: Have groups put together a presentation on their findings using Powerpoint, Google Slides, Prezi, or iMovie. A rubric should include scores that measure design, planning, calculations, analysis of data and a final summary.
Source and Access Information
Contributed by:
Shelly Paulinyce
Name of Author/Source: Shelly Paulinyce, Gail Williams, Kevin Winter
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Sumter
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.