Lesson plan

Playground forces and energy transformations

Use playground equipment, balls and other materials, outdoors, to learn about forces.
Science content
Physics: Motion and Forces, Newton’s Laws, Gravity (K, 2, 6)
Physics: Energy forms, Conservation of Energy (1, 3, 4, 5)

Review what a force is at an age appropriate level:
A force is something that can move an object, or stop it from moving ior make it change direction; a push or a pull (demonstrate).
Sometimes a force happens when things are in contact with each other (demonstrate hand pushing on ground). Sometimes the force does not contact the object it moves e.g. gravity. Demonstrate by throwing a ball in the air - contact force of my hand pushing the ball up, then non-contact force of gravity pulling the ball back down.

Students then experiment with forces.
If using the playground equipment, stations work well - two or three stations on different pieces of equipment, then another couple of stations with balls, and maybe the balancing pole activity.

Between stations, ask students to describe the station they just experienced in terms of forces (moving an object, contact/non-contact forces).

Grades taught
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 4
Gr 5