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Title: Free Fall Lab

Grade and Subject: 11th Grade Physics

The class being taught is an Accelerated Physics class. The students are
all on the accelerated track for science and four of the students are gifted.
Previous to this course the students took accelerated biology and
accelerated chemistry. This lesson is about free fall motion. Students have
already learned about 1D motion in other contexts. Free fall motion is an
application of the general principles of 1D motion. The content is being
taught in the structure of the 5E model. This activity is an elaboration
activity for the learning cycle on free fall. To assess both content
knowledge and scientific habits of mind formally, students will complete a
lab analysis. I will assess these skills informally through class discussion.
Cedar Grove High School is 98% black, with the remaining 2% made up of
Hispanic and mixed race students. My class of 27 students is 100% Black.
The class is made up of 18 females and 9 males. Ellenwood, where the
Student school is located, is not very diverse. I have noticed that my students are
Background, very curious about people of other races and cultures. The school culture
Culture, and is very oriented towards sports, band and general school pride. The
Context students are very invested in extracurricular activities and many see it as
their pathway to college. The requirements for good grades to participate
at the high school level and receive college scholarships cause the
students to become very grade oriented.
The lessons previous to this were on general 1D motion. Students were
introduced to the vocabulary and equations associated with 1D motion.
The lesson after this will continue to have students to work with free fall
through an online simulation. Students will be able to compare their
observations of the real world with their observations during the simulation.
Students have had many experiences with dropping objects in their own
lives. Even though they rarely speak of their own theories of how and why
objects fall, they have developed them. This learning cycle is focused on
having students articulate their own theories and compare them to our
current scientific understanding.
I choose to use the 5E model to plan this lesson. The 5E cycle flows in a
way that is consistent with current knowledge of student learning. Students
have an experience with the material that they can then use to build
explanations with. The teacher guides the development of these
explanations. Then the students complete activities that build on the
foundation. Throughout the process, the teacher evaluates the students
and adjusts to meet their needs. When using the 5E learning cycle,
students begin to take control of their learning because the teacher is not
the ultimate bearer of knowledge (Settlage & Southerland, 2012).
Purpose of the 1. How can technology be used to find the rate at which objects on Earth
Lesson: Central fall?
Focus 2. What evidence supports that all objects fall at the same rate?
Students will be able to use technology to generate graphs of falling
Students will be able to analyze graphs of falling objects to find the rate at
which they fall.
Students will be able to evaluate how well the data from the lab matches
known theories.
Students will be able to work cooperatively in groups to complete their lab.
Students come in and have the first 10 minutes of class (which is
interrupted by the announcements) to complete their bell ringer. The
classroom is laid out with students sitting at 6 tables. Students were able to
pick their own seats but they sit in the same seat from day to day. These
tables serve as the students groups when doing cooperative work, unless I
choose to strategically group them. I will transition by asking for Team
Facilitation &
Physics to give me their attention. I also give students times that a section
will end when they start it.

For this lab, students will be advised not to horseplay. They will be
instructed to maintain control over their ball at all times so that it does not
become a hazard. The students will also be instructed to keep cords on the
table so that they do not become a tripping hazard.
Language Students will analyze graphs of falling objects.
Academic Language

Displacement, distance, speed, velocity, acceleration, time, free

fall, acceleration due to gravity (g), gravity

Vocabulary Students have already been introduced to these vocabulary words in

previous lessons. Students will use this vocabulary to describe their
observations, and develop explanations when writing. Students will also
use this vocabulary in a class discussion.
Syntax or The students will be making and reading graphs of data. The students will
Discourse be writing about and speaking about their graphs.
SCSh4b. Use technology to produce tables and graphs.
GSE - Georgia SCSh4c. Use technology to develop, test, and revise experimental or
Standards of mathematical models.
Excellence SP1c. Compare graphically and algebraically the relationships among
position, velocity, acceleration, and time
Formal and Formal: Lab analysis, preliminary questions
Assessment Informal: Lab discussion
Bell Ringer/ Engage: Students will answer the preliminary questions to
the lab for the day. These questions are on the lab handout. Students will
receive the lab handout as they come in the door. After students have
(10 min)
answered the questions, I will instruct them to read over the procedure and
prepare questions.
I will introduce the students to Vernier lab equipment. I will have one lab
Instructional Strategies & Learning Tasks that Support Diverse Student Needs setup already made for students to observe. I will introduce students to the
software, by demonstrating it on the Promethean Board. I will allow
students to ask questions and then release them to work with their groups.
(55 min)
Elaborate: Students will complete the Vernier Ball Toss Lab. They will use
the procedures and software made by Vernier. During this time I will
circulate the room. I will answer questions, trouble shoot and informally
asses the students by asking them questions.
Evaluate: Students will answer the analysis questions for the lab. After
students have completed these questions, we will discuss the lab as a
class. The basis for discussion will be the lab analysis questions.

(30 min)

Students who excel at this topic will have the opportunity to complete an
Differentiation, extension to the lab.
and Students will be grouped heterogeneously. Therefore, students who are
Accommodation(s) struggling to understand free fall can be supported by others with a more
advanced understanding.
Vernier Ball Toss Lab (6)
Laptops (6)
Vernier computer interface (6)
Materials Vernier motion detector (6)
Volleyballs (6)
Promethean board
Desktop computer

Settlage, J., & Southerland, S. A. (2012). Teaching Science to Every Child:

Using Culture as a Starting Point (Vol. 2): Routledge.