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Physics Unit


Flame Test

8th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Astronomy, Chemistry, and Physics

Lesson Overview: Ever wonder what makes the colors of the fireworks? When scientists get samples of soil from planets or satellites (moons) how can they see what metals are there? Different metals give off different colors of light. When a solution of a metal is used on a flame test, a color will be given off to tell which metal is in the solution.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of the components of our solar system.
  • Understand and apply knowledge of forms of energy and energy transfer.

Content Objectives:

  • Recognize natural structures in the solar system.
  • Recognize that energy is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, nuclei, and the nature of a chemical.

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Measuring Heat Energy

8th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Chemistry and Physics

Lesson Overview: Measuring Heat Energy using household items. This lesson provides students with the ability to measure energy, determine a good source of energy compared toa  poor source of energy, and relate the energy source to common everyday items.

Iowa Core Statement: Understand and apply knowledge of forms of energy and energy transfer.

Concept Objectives:

  • Recognition that energy is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound nuclei, and the nature of a chemical
  • Understanding that energy cannot be created or destroyed
  • Recognition that energy changes forms
  • Understanding that energy is transferred in many ways
  • Recognition that heat moves in predictable ways

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Minute to Win It Games

Any Grade Level

Content Area & Topic: Engineering, Physics, and Sound

Lesson Overview: Based on the fun game show of Minute to Win It, these activities provide students with engaging, hands on learning into many different units within the curriculum standards. The games pulled together for this lesson plan focuses on forces and motion. Some may apply to the sound and light units.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of motions and forces.
  • Identify and generate questions that can be answered though scientific investigations.

Content Objectives:

  • Design and conduct different kinds of scientific investigations.
  • Understand that different kinds of questions suggest different kinds of scientific investigations.
  • Select and use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze and interpret data.
  • Incorporate mathematics in scientific inquiry.
  • Communicate and defend procedures and explanations.
  • Recognize that the motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion and speed.
  • Explain how an object that is not being subjected to a force will continue to move at a constant speed in a straight line.
  • Describe how unbalanced forces cause changes in speed or direction of an object’s motion.
  • Understand that the acceleration of an object is determined by the mass of the object and the force applied to it.

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Newton's Mini Labs

8th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Physics

Lesson Overview: Newton's laws are hard for students to understand that they describe how objects behave in motion. Here the middle school students can apply, analyze, and evaluate Newton's laws through these four classroom activities (Whacky Washers, Mouth to Mouth, Newton's Race, and Balloon Rally).

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of motions and forces

Content Objectives:

  • Recognize that the motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion and speed
  • Explain how an object that is not being subjected to a force will continue to move at a constant speed in a straight line
  • Describe how unbalanced forces cause changes in speed or direction of an object's motion
  • Understand that the acceleration of an object is determined by the mass of the object and the force

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Roller Coaster Lab

8th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Engineering and Physics

Lesson Overview:You are a group of young roller coaster developers working for a company that designs roller coasters.  Your goal is to build the best roller coaster possible, judged by the time of the ride and how exciting it is.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of motions and energy.

Content Objectives:

  • Understand the differences between potential and kinetic energy.

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Spoon Drop Test

8th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Engineering and Physics

Lesson Overview:Have you wondered why people use certian materials for wrapping food, printing papers, cars and etc...? Here we test the strength of different materials that people use everyday.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of forms of energy and energy transfer

  • Understand and apply knowledge of motions and forces

Content Objectives:

  • Understand that energy is transferred in many ways

  • Recognize that the motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion and speed

  • Explain how an object that is not being subjected to a force will continue to move at a constant speed in a straight line

  • Describe how unbalanced forces cause changes in speed or direction of an object's motion

  • Understand that the acceleration of an object is determined by the mass of the object and the force

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Star Composition Lab

8th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Astronomy and Physics

Lesson Overview: Ever wonder how a scientist knows what gases stars are composed of? The answer is using spectroscopes that give off a light line admission, which is the fingerprint of an element. This lab will let the students see the admission lines of several different gases.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of the components of our solar system.
  • Understand and apply knowledge of forms of energy and energy transfer.

Content Objectives:

  • Recognize natural structures in the solar system.
  • Explain how the sun's energy arrives as a range of wavelengths.

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Thermal Energy Transfer

8th Grade

Content Area & Topic:Chemistry and Physics

Lesson Overview: Lesson Overview: A hands on lab that will help kids understand energy transfer by making an all time favorite...ICE CREAM!

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of forms of energy and energy transfer.
  • Identify and generate questions that can be answered through scientific investigations.

Content Objectives:

  • Understanding that energy cannot be created or destroyed.
  • Recognition that energy changes forms.
  • Design and conduct different kinds of scientific investigations.
  • Understand that different kinds of questions suggest different kinds of scientific investigations.

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Mapping out Newton's Laws in Action

8th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Physics

Lesson Overview: Lesson Overview:This demonstration is designed to force students to critically think about forces and motion and connect newtons laws to simple devices. Additionally, the lesson is designed to get students to think about how forces and motion cause an object to react in a system.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of motions and forces.

Content Objectives:

  • Explain how net forces affect an object’s motion and effect of gravity on falling objects.
  • Relate the force of gravity to an object’s mass and distance.
  • Apply Newton’s 3 laws of motion to predict a situation.
  • Predict how mass and velocity affect momentum.

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Singing Pipes

8th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Physics and Engineering

Lesson Overview: Lesson Overview:This demonstration is designed as an introduction into sounds and waves for the waves and light unit. The lesson is an introduction and exploration into how sound is and can be produced. The goal is to cause students to critically think about how the sound is produced without covering the material in an effort for students to explore the topic on their own. The goal is for students to look back on the demonstration once the material is covered and have an “aha!” moment where they connect the course material to the demonstration. This demonstration involves using metal pipes and a propane torch to produce sound through thermal gradients in air.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of forms of energy and energy transfer.

Content Objectives:

  • Distinguish between types of waves.
  • Describe the characteristics of waves.

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Unmixing Food Coloring?! - Lesson in Viscosity

8th Grade

Content Area & Topic: Physics

Lesson Overview: Lesson Overview:This demonstration is designed to force students to critically think about friction and how it applies objects other than solids. Viscosity is internal friction in liquids. So, molasses and honey have more internal friction than water. This lab first shows how water and corn syrup have different viscosities and what that means. Then the lesson shows how higher friction in corn syrup can cause an “unmixing” effect. This is caused by laminar flow.

Iowa Core Statements:

  • Understand and apply knowledge of motions and forces.

Content Objectives:

  • Explain the effect of friction on motion.

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