Middle School: OpenSciEd Unit 8.1: Why Do Things Sometimes Get Damaged When They Hit Each Other?
OpenSciEd is a nonprofit organization that brings together educators, philanthropic organizations, curriculum developers, and professional development providers to improve science education through the development and implementation of high-quality, freely available science instructional materials. While this work has begun at the middle school level with Grades 6 through 8, the goal of OpenSciEd is to ensure that all educators, from elementary to high school, have access to a free, coherent, rigorous, research-based set of instructional materials that will support all students in meeting the vision for science literacy described in A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards.
Rating: Example of High Quality NGSS Design
Awarded the NGSS Design Badge
Science Discipline: Physical Science, Life Science, Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science
Year Reviewed: 2020
This unit on contact forces begins as students consider situations where they have seen their phones break. Students contrast these situations with others where something else collided with another object and either did break or, surprisingly, did not. Attempting to identify the factors that contribute to damage and explain what is happening in some collisions and not others sparks a series of questions and ideas for investigations around the question: Why do things sometimes get damaged when they hit each other?
In the first part of the unit, students make general observations about what happens to objects during collisions and quickly move to analyzing data that show that objects deform when forces are applied. In the second part of the unit, students design solutions to protect an object of their choice in a collision. They gather design input from stakeholders to refine the criteria and constraints for their design solution, and the class works together to carry out a series of investigations to answer the questions they have about optimizing their design solutions. The final part of the unit re-anchors around a related question and a design problem to figure out what kinds of solutions we can design to protect fragile things from breaking.
Link to Materials
The following link will direct you to OpenSciEd’s Unit 8.1 Unit Overview Page: OpenSciEd Unit 8.1: Why Do Things Sometimes Get Damaged When They Hit Each Other?
The NGSS Design Badge is awarded only to the version of this unit that was reviewed. If any modifications are made to this unit, the revised version cannot be promoted as having earned the badge.
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