Students share their current understanding about forces and theme parks
Let's look at theme parks...
Students view and compare two Dreamworld commercials and discuss the way that the producers of these commercials have used different effects to give a particular message about the theme park. Note that the commercials are both fast-paced and busy to create a sense of fun and excitement. The visitors to the park stream easily into the park and they are always shown actively involved in a ride or attraction. There are no shots of people queuing for tickets or rides. Discuss the variety of camera effects used, including close-ups, long shots, panning, camera angles. (English)
After viewing these commercials, students make a list of the rides and attractions from the commercials or their own experience. They group these rides and attractions using a concept mapping tool such as Popplet.
This is an opportunity for diagnostic assessment. N.B. In Year 2, students will have learned that pushes and pulls can affect how an object moves or changes shape. Students view the Dreamworld commercial again and consider the forces that might be at work in the rides at a theme park. They add their ideas to a RAN chart.
Students participate in a variety of guided investigations to learn about contact and non-contact forces
Forces at Work
Students participate in a number of guided investigation stations to explore the forces at work in different theme park rides. Stations are set up for students to explore. I gave students about five minutes to explore the station and two minutes to watch the clip and then rotate to the next station. This part of the lesson took about 1 hour. After completing each station, students use the Aurasma app to view a short video that explains the forces at work in each experiment. At the end of the lesson the students worked with a partner to complete the student response sheet.
Gravity - Free fall rides (e.g. Giant Drop)
Why do you feel like you are floating as you drop suddenly from the top of a free-fall ride? Some people seem to enjoy the "heart-in-your-mouth" sensation while others get very sick.
Set up the Weightless Water experiment using polystyrene cups with holes at the base and a jug of water.
Magnetic forces - Linear induction motors (e.g. Tower of Terror)
Friction can really slow things down and wear parts out. New technology using magnets can propel a vehicle very quickly and smoothly since the vehicle does not need to touch the rails. The super fast Maglev trains use the same kind of technology.
Set up a station with magnets for students to feel the force of both repulsion and attraction. Ring magnets can be used to levitate on a pole, and a model train can be made using thread tape, strip magnets and foam.
Centripetal force - Spinning rides (e.g. Shockwave)
Why don't the riders fall out when the ride spins upside-down? A force called centripetal force is at work here.
Set up a spinning bucket experiment to show how the water doesn't fall out. The spinning coin experiment also demonstrates centripetal force.
Friction - Brakes for stopping rides (e.g. Motocoaster)
Students examine how bicycle brakes work by creating friction on the rubber tyre. They roll toy cars along different surfaces to see how different surfaces are better at slowing things down.
Contact force - direct forces including seat belts (e.g. Bumper Cars)
Students experiment with smaller and larger forces by bowling different balls at other balls to see how the force moves the next ball along. Does the size or weight of the ball make a difference?
Bouyancy - floating water rides (e.g. Thunder River Rapids Ride)
Students attempt to make a chip packet filled with 100 coins float and discover the importance of shape when floating things.
Wind force and drag - movement caused by air (e.g. Air cannons in Madagascar Madness)
Students experiment with cardboard tubes, flour and marshmallows to create a marshmallow shooter that demonstrates how air can move things.
Students explain how rides work using scientific terminology about contact and non-contact forces
What we know about forces
Students reflect on what they learnt about different forces in the experiments. They review the student response worksheet completed in the last lesson.
They explore some websites to find out more about one type of force and work with a group to produce a short video about the force (using iMovie, Tellagami or other suitable software).
They use scientific terminology to describe the forces and identify forces as contact or non-contact forces.
Students can explore one of the forces from the previous activity or may like to investigate further by exploring hydraulics, steam or other methods of creating force.
Students design a simple experiment to learn about forces and apply their knowledge in the design of their own theme park ride.
How does it work?
Students design a simple experiment to explore the effect of gravity or friction by adapting a simple demonstration of a car rolling down a ramp.
Students identify the variables in the demonstration (e.g. mass of the car, height of the ramp, surface of the ramp, surface at bottom of ramp etc). They select one variable to measure, one to change, and determine ways they can ensure that the other variables stay the same.
They collect data and present their findings and interpretations using suitable tables and graphs.
Be an imagineer!
Students design their own theme park ride and provide written annotations that demonstrate their understanding of how forces are used in theme park rides.