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How does gravity affect objects?

How does gravity affect objects?

Sensemaking Checklist

What is Sensemaking?

Sensemaking is actively trying to figure out how the world works (science) or how to design solutions to problems (engineering). Students do science and engineering through the science and engineering practices. Engaging in these practices necessitates that students be part of a learning community to be able to share ideas, evaluate competing ideas, give and receive critique, and reach consensus. Whether this community of learners is made up of classmates or family members, students and adults build and refine science and engineering knowledge together.

Lesson Snapshot

Elementary school students, as scientists, investigate gravity and patterns in motion to answer the lesson question: How does gravity affect objects? Students consider the forces acting on an object at rest. Students identify that gravity is a force acting on the object and generate questions about gravity and how objects with different weights are lifted. Next, students decide to investigate their questions using the cubes from Lesson 1 and a spring scale. Students predict which cube will require the largest force to lift it and measure the force with a spring scale. Students notice a pattern: heavier objects need a bigger force to lift them. Students then consider the direction of the force of gravity and the force exerted by a table or the ground on objects at rest. Finally, students apply the new ideas about forces to the JWST rocket launch and revise their models.

This lesson plan is lesson two of the Launching the James Webb Space Telescope Unit. The unit was created in collaboration with AIAA and Estes Education.

Click the Download PDF button above for the complete Lesson Plan.


Student Materials

Per Student

Per Small Group (2 to 4 students)

  • 4 density blocks of different weights with hooks labeled 1, 2, 3, and 4
  • Spring Scale with Newton Measurement

Teacher Materials

Asset 2