# 4th Grade Science - Relative Position and Motion; Inquiry Process - Observation, properties, inference, and evidence

Overview
Science content focus - what science says - enduring understanding, big ideas, generalizations
Science inquiry focus - how we use science to collect information to understand
Activity sequence
Resources and materials
Pedagogical ideas
Lessons and activities detail

Assessment

### Overview

This science investigation allows students to explore science processes of relative position and motion. It begins with a review or observation compared to inference and a review of properties.

Physical Science - Force and Newton's Laws
(what science says - enduring understanding, big ideas, generalizations)

Forces is a push or pull. Objects in a uniform motion tend to stay in that motion unless interacting with an external force (Newton's first law of motion). For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (Newton's third law of motion).
The following are included for background information. Not for students to know.
Force = mass * acceleration (Newton's second law of motion). Momentum = mass * acceleration; Acceleration is the same as velocity; or the rate of change of position, or distance/ time - miles per hour (60 miles/hour).

Related concepts and facts -

• An object can be moved with a force (push or pull).
• The distance of the motion is related to the size of the force (push or pull).
• Objects near the Earth fall toward the center of the Earth if not acted upon by another force.
• Force, mass, and movement are related.
• The greater the force, the greater the change of direction.
• Friction is a force that can slow an object.
• An object that is not being subjected to a force will continue to move at a constant speed and in a straight line.
• If more than one force acts on an object along a straight line, then the forces will reinforce or cancel one another, depending on their direction and magnitude.
• Unbalanced forces will cause changes in the speed or direction of an object’s motion.
• All objects have a gravitational force that interacts with another objects gravitational force proportional to the masses and distances.
• Electricity and magnetism can exert a force on each other.
• Objects at rest will stay at rest until acted upon by an outside force.
• Objects in motion will stay in motionwith the same speed and the same direction (in a straight line) unless acted upon by a force.
• Kenetic energy is the energy an object has because of its motion.
• Potential energy is the stored energy do to its position that may be available if the object is let fall.

Outcome - Physical Science -Force and Newton's Laws

Describe how force changes the motion of objects.

Specific outcomes - Physical Science - Force and Newton's Laws

1. Describe force as a push or pull.
2. Describe Newton's first law. Objects at rest will stay at rest until acted upon by an outside force. And Objects in motion will stay in motionwith the same speed and the same direction (in a straight line) unless acted upon by a force.
3. Describe Describe that a greater force creates increased speed or a longer distance an object travels before stopping.
4. Describe the amount of mass in an object as a variable that effects the transfer of energy or the force applied.
5. Describe the velocity of an object as a variable that effects the transfer of energy or the force applied.

Inquiry - Processes - Constancy, Change, and Measurement

Observations of an objects properties can suggest what materials were used to make it and how it was made.

Related concepts and facts -

• Observations help collect information that can be used to answer questions.
• People learn by carefully observing interactions with objects.
• Tools can be used to make better and more accurate observations (magnifiers, camera, ...).
• Observations can be compared through communication of properties.
• Recording observations helps remember specific information.
• When people report different observations they can make more observations to try and find agreement.
• Observation, creativity, and logical argument are used to explain how things work.
• When people disagree on explanations for an observation they usually make more observations to refine their explanations.
• Observations of an object relative to other objects is its position or location.
• Objects are identified, described, and compared by their properties.
• Objects have many properties.
• Objects may have properties that change and properties that don’t change.
• Properties of objects can be measured using tools such as rulers, balances, and thermometers.
• Properties of matter include: position, motion, form, function, and change.
• Properties and change of properties can be quantified.
• Objects, properties, and events stay the same or happen in similar ways.
• Properties are used to define all objects.
• Definitions change as the properties change.
• Before and after pictures can be used to represent change.
• Object's position or location is a property.

Outcome - Inquiry - Processes - Constancy, Change, and Measurement

Identify properties/ characteristics of an object.

Specific outcomes -

1. Describe the location or position of an object as an observable property of the object.
2. Describe direction as a property used to locate objects' position.
3. Describe the properties of above, below, left, right, front, behind, near, far, close.
4. Describe measurement as a property.

Inquiry - Processes - evidence, models, explanations

Explanations about objects include evidence (descriptions objects and their properties) to describe, identify, and locate position.

Related concepts and facts -

• Explanations derive from evidence.
• Evidence is based on observation.
• Evidence derives from properties,characteristics, and variables.
• Explanation helps us share evidence, models, and explanations (reasoning).
• Sharing evidence, models, and explanations helps us learn from one another.
• People have always tried to explain their ideas with one another.
• Explanations from one person to another require communication (a message being sent and received).
• Errors can occur when communicating.
• Clear explanations give other people information about your discoveries and ideas.
• Repeating messages is a way to avoid miscommunication.
• Information can be communicated in many different ways each of which have advantages and disadvantages.
• Sketches can be used to explain evidence, properties, characteristics, variables, procedures, events, models, ideas, and explanations to the creator and other people.
• Before and after pictures can be used to represent change.
• Numerical data can be used to describe and compare objects and events to the creator and other people.
• Tables and charts can be used to represent objects and events.
• Graphs can be used to identify relationships.
• Explanations are better when specific observable evidence is provided.
• Communication allows other people to agree or disagree with a person’s findings.

Outcome - Inquiry - Processes - evidence, models, explanations -communication

Identify properties/ characteristics of an object and use them to describe, identify, and locate an object.

Specific outcomes -

1. Describe the location or position of an object as a property.
2. Describe the location or position of an object using the properties of above, below, left, right, front, behind and measurement of near, far, close.
3. Use the location or position of an object as evidence and property in explanations.

Inquiry - Processes - evidence, models, explanations - system, order, and organization - observation, properties, classification

Relative Position and Relative Position and Motion.

Related concepts and facts -

• An object is located relative to a reference object.
• The description of an object's position changes from one reference point to another.
• Objects can be located with different combinations of distances and directions from a singular point or multiple points. (one point as a reference object can be used to locate another point or object with a distance and direction.) (An object or point can be located from two know points with a distance and direction from one point and either a distance or a direction from the second point.)
• Objects move in different ways (straight, crocked, circular, and back and forth).
• Objects move fast and slow. An object’s motion can be described by tracing and measuring its position over time.
• The motion of an object is described relative to a reference point.
• The description of an object's motion changes from one reference point to another.
• Motion can be too fast or slow for people to see.
• Objects move steadily or change direction.
• Objects that make sound vibrate. Motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion, and speed.
• Motion can be measured and represented on a graph.

Outcome - Inquiry - Processes - evidence, models, explanations - system, order, and organization - observation, properties, classification

Describe the position and location of stationary and moving objects relative to other objects.

Specific outcomes -

1. Describe the position and location of stationary and moving objects from at least two reference points that would cause substantial differences in the descriptions of the location and motion.

Activities
to provide sufficient opportunities for students to attain the targeted outcomes.

Possible Activity Sequence

1. Introductory observation/inference sequence observe six illustrations over five days
2. Snow White - observation or inference
3. Bird and cage - observation or inference, optical illusion, position and motion
4. Foot prints in rock - observation or inference, critical thinking
5. What’s my property?
6. What’s my object? or I spy and object.
7. What’s my reference object?
8. Challenge - Locate an object without a reference object?
9. Introductory maps - What’s my object?
10. Introductory maps - What’s my position
11. Puzzle sequence - Solve puzzles 1-10, record and publish results, share, resolve any
differences
12. Introductory relative position and motion sequence - Sphere tracks
13. Introductory relative position and motion sequence - Sphere track puzzles
14. Crash and slide - Hit slider from incline plane - vary height
15. Hit slider from inclined plane - vary mass of sphere

### Pedagogical ideas

Misconception

• Similar directions starting at similar places will in arriving at the same location.
• An object may move relative to one reference object but not another.

A person's understanding of relative position and motion can be inferred by their ability to locate objects and explaining how objects are located, and how to report objects' movements among different objects.

Focus questions - How do you describe the location of an object? Another city or a landmark within a city? How do you describe an object that is in motion?

How do objects move? What causes the motion? What is needed to change its motion? How can its motion be changed?

Review 1 - 5 Activities to review or introduce science processes - observation, property, and inference

1. Introductory observation/inference sequence observe six illustrations over five days
2. Snow White - observation or inference
3. Bird and cage - observation or inference, optical illusion, position and motion
4. Foot prints in rock - observation or inference, critical thinking
5. Play - What's my properties. Have students select an object and ask them to identify it's properties. Or just start by playing the game. Secretly select an object. Identify one of it's properties. Ask if a student wants to guess what the object is,by identifying another property. They don't guess the object they guess another of its properties and state that property. The initial student then says yes if it is a property of the object or no if it isn't a property of the object. Continue taking turns with students identifying properties until it appears everyone knows the object.

Exploration

Activity 6 - I spy an object or What's my object

### Instructional procedure

1. Play I spy an object by using only positions to describe the location of the object. No physical descriptions of the object are allowed.
"The object is above us.
The object is below the ceiling.
The object is right of the clock..."

Invention

1. After students are fairly familiar with playing the game, ask them what is similar about the kinds of words they are using. If the students don't respond, then suggest to continue with the game and write the descriptions on the board.
2. Continue the game until there are enough hints on the board for students to describe similarities or patterns for the words on the list. Always starts with "The object" then there is a "directional" word followed by a name of an object.
3. Discuss what words are changing and what words are not. How and why the change of some words is necessary. When students are focused on the position descriptors, suggest that a list of those words be made.
4. Make a list and have the students sort or classify the words. When the students are familiar with the descriptors and are comfortable with that part of the game (have an operational definition to use to play the game), then divide the class into two groups. Have one group describe the location of an object from one position in the room and have the second group describe the same object from a different part of the room. If they don't notice the difference, then write the descriptors to locate the objects, point out the differences, and ask the students why there are different descriptors.
5. Would it be possible for an object to be described with opposite words? (In front of ______ and to the right. Behind _______ and to the left.)

Activity 7 What's my reference object

1. Ask students when they need to locate an object or describe an object's location if there are different ways to do it.
2. How many different ways can we identify?
3. Are some that are better than others.
4. Continue to discuss how and why different descriptors are need for the same objects.
5. Repeat the procedure for a different object in the class.
6. Continue with objects in the class until students are confident and accurate.

Expansion

1. When you are confident that students are constructing the concept, then challenge them to describe the location of a place in the school from their classroom and then from a different part of the school building or grounds.
2. When students get the idea of this, challenge them by playing the game backwards. For example. Don't tell them the starting location, but give them the description to locate a place or object and what the final place or object is. If the clock is to the left, in front, and above this object, what is the object?
3. Ask if they can identify the starting object or position.
4. Have students create their own backwards descriptions as a puzzle for their classmates, trade with a partner, solve the puzzle, and then share their discoveries with the class.
5. Continue to add descriptors to the list and other significant learnings about how to locate objects and how descriptions change relative to starting position (position of person....[is the person the reference position?])

Generalization

1. The description of an object's position is a matter of personal perspective. Have students explain if this is an accurate statement or not and why they believe it is or is not.
2. Continue with the same ideas only describe a position of an object as it moves...

Activity 8

Challenge - Locate an object without a reference object?

Activity 9

Introductory maps - What’s my object?

Activity 10

Introductory maps - What’s my position

Activity 11

Puzzle sequence - Solve puzzles 1-10, record and publish results, share, resolve any differences

Activity 12

Introductory relative position and motion sequence -Sphere tracks

Motion of a Rolling Sphere

Part 1 Use a ruler and a piece of wood to make a ramp that is about 10 cm. above the table. Position a small sphere at the 20 cm. mark of the ruler. Now release the sphere and let it roll down the ramp onto a piece of white paper which is covered by carbon paper.

1. How would you describe the tracks?
2. What do they say about the sphere’s speed?
3. Place an arrow beside the tracks to indicate the direction sphere is moving.

Part 2 now position the same sphere at the 10 cm. mark. However, release it so it rolls on a different section of the paper so the tracks can be compared.

1. How are they similar to the first set of tracks?
2. How are they different?
3. How could the difference be explained?
4. What does the distance between dots in a set of tracks say about speed?
5. What change in the distance between dots takes place in the direction of motion?
6. Why does this occur?

Part 3 Release a larger sphere from a distance of 20 cm. Use another sheet of paper for this.

1. How are these tracks different from those of the small sphere when it was dropped form the same height?
2. How are they similar?
3. As a sphere rolls along a table top, what factor(s) act on it to change it’s speed?
4. What evidence do you have to support this?
5. If this (these) factor(s) was (were) not acting, sketch how the tracks would look.

Part 4 What can you read from tracks that are a result of a collision between a sphere and a stationary object? A piece of wood may be used as a fixed object; just slip the two papers under the wood and hold it firmly when the sphere hits it.

1. Compare the speed of a sphere before and after colliding with a stationary object. What happens to the speed?
2. What evidence supports this
3. What affect did the collision have on the direction it was moving?

Part 5 What can be read from cracks that are a result of a collision between two spheres of (a) same size (b) different size? Place two ramps just off opposite edges of the carbon paper so they face each other. Release a sphere from each ramp at the same time.

1. Compare the speed of the two spheres before and after colliding. What happens to the speed?
2. What evidence do you have to support this?
3. How did the collision affect the direction each sphere was going?

Part 6 Study the track below

1. What direction is the sphere going?
2. What evidence do you have to support this?
3. Where did it collide with the desk leg?
4. Compare it’s speed before and after colliding. What can be concluded?

Activity 13

Introductory relative position and motion sequence - Sphere track puzzles

Activity 14

Crash and slide - Hit slider from incline plane - vary height

Activity 15

Hit slider from inclined plane - vary mass of sphere