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        The Art of Forces and Motion

        Students learn about Forces and Motion by creating art that helps them to visualize, identify and explain these phenomena.

        Lesson Summary


        The laws of nature are constantly influencing and interacting with our lives. Forces and motion are part of everything we do. How do we know what forces are acting on us or an object for that mater? Can we predict how the laws of motion will affect an object? Is it possible to create an art piece that can prove that these laws of nature exist? In this lesson, students will be able to study forces and motion vocabulary, discuss and design an art piece that justifies their knowledge and understanding of forces and motion, and present and interpret their art piece using vocabulary.


        • Visualize and describe the three laws of motion.
        • Identify and explain essential forces and motion vocabulary
        • Integrate science and art through the creation of and art piece.

        Grade Level:

        • 4-12

        Suggested Time

        • Two to three class periods

        Media-rich Resources


        • paper clips
        • string
        • aluminum foil
        • index cards
        • pens or pencils
        • colored pencils
        • card stock or construction paper
        • scissors
        • other small, decorative objects. (students can bring from home, too)
        • sample vocabulary handout
        • vocabulary word boxes handout.

        Before the Lesson

        • Gather as many materials as possible. Add to the list depending on what materials you have available to you and ask students to bring materials from home.
        • Make a copy of the vocabulary boxes handout
        • Make copies of the sample vocabulary handout

        The Lesson

        Part I: Forces and Motion Vocabulary Research

        1. Have students brainstorm forces and motion vocabulary. They can do this by using their textbook or personal background knowledge.

        2. Make a list of the forces and motion vocabulary together with the class.

        3. Decide which vocabulary words you would like the students to study and research. Use the sample vocabulary word list to provide students with essential forces and motion vocabulary. Assign them at least 10 vocabulary words.

        4. Give students the vocabulary word boxes handout. Have them work alone or in pairs to find the definition and a picture for each words that you would like them to research. They may use their textbook, internet or library to find definitions and pictures. Make sure their pictures are labeled.

        Part II: The Art Project

        5. Have the students brainstorm a list of everyday examples of their vocabulary words. Have them add these examples to their explanations in the vocabulary word boxes.

        6. Prepare for the Ned Kahn video by asking students to make a t-table in their notes. On the left side they should write down what they saw during the video and on the right side they should write down what they thought about what they saw. This will help generate discussion after the video and also give them an opportunity to recognize some of their vocabulary words.

        7. Watch the Invisible Forces QuickTime Video.

        8. Discuss the students' thoughts about the video. Lead a discussion on how Ned Kahn, a scientist, uses what we know about the laws of nature, particularly forces and motion, to create art as and artist.

        9. Put students into strategic pairs. Tell the students that they will now be able to use what they know about forces and motion (vocabulary word boxes) to create an art piece. The art piece must be a representation of a vocabulary word that they choose from the vocabulary word boxes. Challenge the students to make an art piece that is a reflection of more than just one word from the vocabulary word boxes.

        10. Have the pairs plan their art piece by writing it down on a piece of paper and getting it approved by you. This will allow you to make sure that the materials are used wisely. Once the materials are approved, allow students to begin building their art piece.

        11. Have students present their art piece to the class by explaining their piece and justifying it using the vocabulary. You can also have students do a silent gallery walk to each art piece while taking notes on what vocabulary words they think are depicted in the art work before the presentations.

        12. Finish with a discussion of students thoughts about everyday examples of forces and motion in our lives. Also lead them in a discussion of how the process of making art is also a science

        Check for Understanding

        Have students discuss the following:

        • List examples of forces and motion in our everyday lives.
        • Explain in your own words 3-5 forces and motion vocabulary words.
        • How are science and art similar or different?
        • Can you think of other art pieces would be good detectors of forces and motion?


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