NJ Science Convention Workshop

Here is the workshop packet that I used.

To download, right-click.  Then select "Save target as..."

Workshop Information Packet


Listed below, are some website activities and resources that relate to our exploration of balanced and unbalanced forces:


What is a Force? -Even when we ask adults this question, we get some very interesting answers!

What Forces Are Acting on You? -When an object is at rest, the forces are balanced.  What does this statement really mean?  This video does a fairly good job of explaining this.

How Much Force is 1 Newton? -Although in the earlier grades, we do not get into the mathematical calculations of balanced & unbalanced forces, some of the online resources that I have found, do allow you to see how many Newtons of force you are applying in various simulations.  Students will invariably ask, "What exactly is a Newton of force?"  This video does a fairly good job of explaining what a Newton of Force really is!

The K-12 Science Progressions! -This download comes from part of the book entitled, "The NSTA Quick Reference Guide to the NGSS, Elementary School."  This document gives you a good perspective of where your teaching of science on the elementary level fits into the larger picture

Using Balloons to Show Balanced & Unbalanced Forces -This is a great video from a school system in England done by a couple of first grade students and an eleventh grade student exploring balanced and unbalanced forces using balloons, paper clips, & a hair dryer.

Forces & Motion Activity Tub -First and foremost, please be sure to read the 2 pages on the basics of forces & motion at the beginning of this great teaching guide.  This background information is crucial for any teacher to understand when teaching any grade level student the basics of motion and forces.  Although many of the activities in this particular printable seem to be geared for middle school students, you may very well find activities that could be modified for younger students. 

Forces & Movement -In this activity, drag the red handle back to the yellow light to give the truck a little push.  Find out how far the truck travels.  Be sure to test the larger truck as well.  Does it go as far?  Why or why not?

Forces in Action -In this activity, see how far the truck travels when you increase or decrease the slope.  You can also see how placing different sized parachutes and different sized weights  on the back of the truck affects the motion of the truck as well.

Exploring Friction -In this activity, see how far the sleigh travels on different surfaces using either a small push force or a large push force. Which surface did the sleigh travel the furthest?  Why do you think so?  Which surface did the sleigh travel the smallest distance?  Why do you think so?

Forces Interactive -This website allows you to explore virtually everything you'd ever want to know about forces!  Click on the RED box or the "mind map" on the bottom of the screen to begin your adventure.

PhET Forces & Motion: Basics -This website does a great job of exploring the concepts of net force, motion, friction, and acceleration.  Click here to get to the teacher resources for this activity.

PhET Balancing Act -This website does a great job of having students explore balancing and proportional reasoning.  Click here to get to the teacher resources for this activity.

The Best Table Pulleys! -Science First, in my opinion has the best quality pulleys available for student investigations on pulleys.  This table clamp pulley is a high quality pulley that utilizes ball bearings for smooth, consistent, motion.  Click here to buy the blue pulley wheels that I used in today's workshop as well.