Unit Overview

Lesson Overview

In Mosa Mack’s Gravity unit, students are led through a progression of three inquiry lessons that focus on the gravitational force that pulls objects down toward the Earth. *Unit focuses on conceptual physics, not mathematical representations.

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    Solve: Uphill Mystery + Vocabulary Mind Map

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    Make: Lab Stations: Experience Gravity

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    Engineer: Apply your Knowledge to Engineer a Safe Food Drop

  • Next Generation Science Standards
    5-PS2-1
    Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down. [Clarification Statement: “Down” is a local description of the direction that points toward the center of the spherical Earth.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include mathematical representation of gravitational force.]
  • Inquiry Scale

    • Each lesson in the unit has an Inquiry Scale that provides directions on how to implement the lesson at the level that works best for you and your students.
    • “Level 1” is the most teacher-driven, and recommended for students in 4th-5th grades. “Level 4” is the most student-driven, and recommended for students in 7th-8th grades.
    • For differentiation within the same grade or class, use different inquiry levels for different groups of students who may require additional support or an extra challenge.
  • Common Misconceptions
    • Students initially think that air or some other force “pushes” them down towards earth. Emphasize that gravity is an attractive force that pulls objects towards earth rather than a force that pushes them.
    • Students often think that gravity only applies when they are falling or when they are in the air. Emphasize to students that gravity is acting on them even when they are standing, sitting, or lying down!
    • Students sometimes think that they are defying gravity when they jump up in the air. Use the vocabulary word, “force,” to discuss how jumping is an opposing force to gravity.
  • Vocabulary
      • Force
      • Gravity
      • Acceleration
      • Air Resistance
      • Earth
  • Content Expert
    • Glennys Farrar, Ph.D.
      Professor of Physics Theoretical Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology New York University
  • Leveled Reading

    * To give our users the most comprehensive science resource, Mosa Mack is piloting a partnership with RocketLit, a provider of leveled science articles.

    • Why are Planets Round?

      This article explains how gravity works to pull planets and stars together into spheres.

    • Space Tug o' War!

      Why doesn't the Earth fall into the Sun? In this article, we define the terms mass, gravity, orbit, and velocity. This article serves to introduce students to the ideas behind why planets are able to stay in orbit by flying through space at just the right velocity, and with just the right amount of gravitational pull from their star.

    • They All Fall Down

      In this article, students read about the different ways that gravity changes the landscape through creep, mass wasting, landslides, or rockfall.

    • Potential Energy and Distance

      In this article, we look at the way that potential energy is stored in objects that are farther away from the ground. Using the example of a of roller coaster, we define the word "system" and talk about the benefits of using a model to look at the relationship between potential energy and distance