Get Moving!

Newton’s Apple Tree – Cambridge University, England

I am currently a student teacher in an incredible third grade classroom. I was thinking about doing a lesson on Force and Motion. Are there any great strategies and tips for this subject?
– J., Virginia


The Forces and Motion topic lends itself to fun STEM activities like balloon cars, wheeled cars, and so on.

Newton’s laws of motion should be introduced using simple terms.


  • Newton’s First Law: Things normally just sit there or stay moving in a straight line at the same speed! Changes in motion only happen if forces are involved.

  • Newton’s Second Law: the bigger the force, the faster the change in motion. The more massive things are, the more force needed to change motion.
    e.g. A small car needs less force to start moving than a large truck. So small cars use smaller engines than trucks. Small cars need less braking force to stop because they have a much smaller mass than a large truck.
  • Newton’s Third Law: all forces come in equal pairs, in opposite directions!
    This one is very poorly understood by many people!
    e.g. To jump in the air your feet push down on the floor… (now switch the two nouns) …the floor pushes up on your feet. The floor is much more massive than you so it doesn’t move as much (see the Second Law)!

Have your students try to explain why their projects move the way they do! The key is to always link motion to forces.

For STEM activities you can search The Learning Center and feel free to check out my public collection:

Hope this helps!


Photo Credit:  Public Domain

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1 Response to Get Moving!

  1. Harry E. Keller says:

    True. So many people use the same language as they were taught. A little extra effort goes a long way.

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