What is Motion?
Teachers, define motion to students using the definition that motion is the act of an object changing position. For a more in depth look at the definition of motion and use of motion lesson plans, refer to these motion lesson plans . Once students understand the general concept of motion, use the science activity below to express a general idea of Newton’s Laws of Motion.
Motion Science Activity
For this activity you will need a carpenter’s level and a marble. Follow the instructions below to complete this lesson plan on Newton’s Laws of Motion.
- Place the carpenter’s level on a flat surface so that the bubble in the center indicates that the level is in fact level.
- Place the marble in the center of the level.
- Ask students to observe that the marble is not moving. Question students as to why the marble doesn’t move.
- Students should come up with various responses that indicate they are aware that some type of force needs to be applied for the marble to move even if they do not know the term "force".
- Briefly explain the term of velocity to students. Once students understand what velocity, ask them what the velocity of the marble is. Let students discuss the possibilities, then explain to them that the velocity of the marble is 0.
- Further explain that changes in velocity is produced by a force. The only force being applied to the marble in its current state is the force of gravity.
- Explain to students that force has the potential to cause motion, but may not always result in motion.
- Tilt the level so that the marble rolls down the level.
- Question students about what changed so that the marble rolled. You did not directly touch the marble, so what force was applied to cause this motion? Are objects naturally in motion due to gravity and stopped by the lack of change in velocity or are they naturally still and only move when force is applied?
Once the activity is complete, explain that Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), one of the greatest scientists of all time, performed similar experiments that resulted in his discovery of the Laws of Motion. These laws of motion led to the development of many types of technology and scientific discoveries that would otherwise have been impossible to create. Use the study guide on Newton’s Laws of Motion to give students a brief overview Newton’s Laws of Motion before continuing on to the rest of the motion lesson plans that go into detail about Newton’s Laws of Motion.
This post is part of the series: Newton’s Laws of Motion
- Newton’s Laws of Motion
- Lesson Plan on Newton's First Law of Motion
- A Lesson Plan on the Second Law of Motion
- Teaching Newton's Third Law of Motion
- Understanding Newton's Law of Gravity