Hitting the slopes and racing down a ski slope is an exhilarating experience, but have you ever wondered what forces are at play as you glide down the mountain? In this engaging science lesson, students will explore the concepts of force and motion by building and experimenting with a model ski slope. The key to unlocking this educational journey lies in the hands-on exploration of a model ski slope constructed using the LEGO® Education BricQ Motion Prime set. The set is widely available in Dubai and the Middle East, emerging as a popular educational tool for schools.
- Understanding Newton’s second law of motion
- Recognizing the relationship between mass and momentum
- Identifying the impact of friction on motion
- BriQ Motion Prime set
- Student worksheets or science notebooks
- Tape or marker to mark the starting line
- Smooth surface, at least 1 yard long
Lesson Procedure Engage (5 minutes)
- Show students a video or picture of a skier in action.
- Facilitate a discussion about the forces that affect a skier on a ski slope to understand engaging science lessons.
Ask questions like:
- Which force(s) make a skier move down a slope? (Gravity)
- How does weight affect a skier’s motion? (More weight causes more momentum.)
- Introduce the model ski slope activity. Explain that students will build and experiment with a model to understand the forces at play on a ski slope.
Explore (30 minutes)
- Divide students into pairs.
- Distribute a BriQ Motion Prime set to each group.
- Instruct students to build the Ski Slope model according to the instructions for initiating engaging science lesson in classroom. Encourage them to work together and take turns searching for bricks and building.
- After 20 minutes, have students pause their building. At this point, they should have at least built the skiers and the ramp with the scale for measuring angles.
- Demonstrate how to ensure a fair test of the skiers. Emphasize the importance of using consistent starting positions.
- Ask students to set the angle of the ski slope to 20 degrees.
Have each group conduct Experiment 1:
- Slide each skier down the ramp one at a time and measure the distance traveled.
- Mark the distances on student worksheets or science notebooks.
- Perform three or more runs for each skier and calculate the average distance.
Explain (5 minutes)
Gather students together to discuss their findings from Experiment 1.
Ask questions like:
- Why did the heavier skier go the farthest? (More mass, more momentum, keeps sliding longer.)
- What would happen if you removed the skis from the heavier skier?
As a part of the engaging science lesson, have a group demonstrate the effect of removing the skis. Show how the skier would travel a shorter distance due to increased friction. Explain that curved skis reduce friction compared to a sharp rectangular corner.
Introduce Experiment 2:
- Set the angle of the ski slope to 30 degrees.
- Ask students to predict where each skier will finish by placing colored bricks beside the yardstick.
- Slide each skier down the ramp and compare their predictions to the results.
- Calculate the average distance for each skier and record it.
Elaborate (5 minutes)
- Gather students to review the results of both experiments.
- Discuss the patterns observed in the skiers’ motion with different slope angles.
- Encourage students to describe the phenomenon in their own words.
- Allow time for cleanup and model disassembly.
- Observe students’ participation in discussions and activities.
- Provide feedback on their understanding of forces and motion.
- Use the assessment rubrics provided to evaluate their performance for this engaging science lesson.
Extensions (Additional Time) Incorporate math skills development by calculating and comparing the momentum of each skier:
P (Momentum), M (Mass), V (Velocity)
P = M x V
(Small skier) P1 = 5g x ? m/s
(Large skier) P2 = 62g x ? m/s
V = V (acceleration due to gravity is the same for both, with minor differences in sliding friction, but we can assume the speed of each is very similar)
P2 > P1
This engaging science lesson provides students with a hands-on opportunity to explore the concepts of force and motion in the context of skiing. By building and experimenting with a model ski slope, students gain a deeper understanding of how gravity, mass, and friction affect the movement of skiers on a slope.