Unit Overview

Content Area: Science and Mathematics
Unit Title:  Motion
Target Course/Grade Level: 8th Grade Physical Science, self contained class at a private school
Name: Anthony Wasacz
School: Durand
Date: July 15, 2010

Unit Summary
This unit will introduce students to motion.  The students are first introduced to displacement, measurement,   and relative motion.   They will learn how to take measurements in length by using rulers and meter sticks. They will learn how to determine if an object is moving by using a point of reference.   They will then be introduced to velocity, or speed in a given direction.  They will learn to measure time using a stopwatch and an analog clock.   They will then determine the speed of an object by measuring the distance it travels in a given time.  Finally,   they will calculate the acceleration of an object using the initial and final speed of an object.     
The students at this class are at a private school for students with learning disabilities, or who are on the autism spectrum.   There is a 4:10 teacher to student ration.    Three one – on – one aids are part of the class. The students struggle with reading on grade level, comprehension, and writing.  They have no prior experience in using formulas to calculate speed or acceleration. 

Primary interdisciplinary connections
Math – Using formulas to calculate data. Creating a graph of their data.
Technology - Using graphing calculators with motion sensors, stopwatches,   SMART Boards, and YouTube videos on the internet.
Current events - Observing various types of sports to try to calculate the speed of the players.  

21st century themes
Global Awareness

Unit Rationale
Understanding how to measure and collect data is an important skill for students in both math and science.   This unit will provide the students with ability to collect data by measuring lengths with rulers or meter sticks, as well as measuring time with clocks and stopwatches.   Students will learn to collect different types of data and work together in groups to take accurate measurements.   This unit can help them to understand the idea of speed, and acceleration.  

Learning Targets

Standards Key Ideas and Details
8.EE   Expressions and Equations
Understand the connections between proportional relationships, lines, and linear equations.
5. Graph proportional relationships, interpreting the unit rate as the slope of the graph.  Compare two different proportional relationships represented in different ways. For example,   compare a distance – time graph to a distance – time equation to determine which of two moving objects has greater speed.  
8.F   Functions
Use Functions to model relationships between quantities. 
4.  Construct a function to model a linear relationship between two quantities. Determine rate of change and initial value of the function from a description of a relationship or from two (x, y) values, including reading these from a table or from a graph. Interpret the rate of change and initial value of a linear function in terms of the situation it models, and in terms of its graph or table of values.

Content Statements
4.1.8 B-1 Numerical Operations-Use and explain procedures for performing calculations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and exponentiation with integers and all number types with:  pen-and –paper, mental math, and calculator.
4.1.8 B-5 Numerical Operations -Understand and apply the standard algebraic order of operations, including the appropriate used of parentheses. 
4.2.8C-2 Coordinate Geometry-Use a coordinate grid to model and quantify transformations.
4.2.8D-6 Units of Measurement-Solve problems that involve compound measurement units, such as speed (miles per hour), air pressure (pounds per square inch), and population density) persons per square mile). 
4.3.8A- 2 Patterns-Descriptions using tables, verbal and symbolic rules, graphs, simple equations or expressions.
4.3.8B 1-2 Functions and Relationships- Rates of change (informal notion of slope).
4.8.A-1 Data Analysis- Calculators and computer used to record and process information.

Science Standards:
5.7.4A-1 Motion and Forces- Recognize that changes in speed or direction are caused by force and that the greater the force, the greater the change in motion will be.  


Unit Essential Questions

Unit Enduring Understandings


Unit Learning Targets
Students will...

Evidence of Learning

Summative Assessment (X day)
Weekly quiz
End of unit exam

Equipment Needed:
Chapter test, weekly quiz, calculators.

Formative Assessments:


Lesson Plans
Lesson 1
Measurement of distance and time.
45minutes each day, over 5 days.

Lesson 2
Measurement of speed.
45minutes each day, over 4 days.

Lesson 3
Laboratory activity – Measurement of speed
One 45 minute class.

Lesson 4
Acceleration of objects
45minutes each day, over 4 days.
Laboratory activity – Acceleration of a toy car down a ramp.
One 45 minute class.

Lesson 4
Unit review
One 45 minute class.

Lesson 5
Unit test
One 45 minute class.


Teacher Notes
Students will be placed in ability level groups.   Each group will have the help of a teacher or a one-on –one aid. 

Curriculum Development Resources
Click the links below to access additional resources used to design this unit:

Lesson Plan 1
Content Area: Mathematics
Grade: 8th
Lesson Title: Calculating Speed
Timeframe: Two 45 minute classes

Lesson Components
21st Century Themes
X Global Awareness
Financial, Economic, Business, and Entrepreneurial Literacy
Civic Literacy
Health Literacy

21st Century Skills
                Creativity and Innovation
Media Literacy
x    Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
ICT Literacy
x   Communication and Collaboration
x   Life and Career Skills: Explore real life careers that use the Pythagorean Theorem
Information Literacy
Interdisciplinary Connections: Math:  The students will be using formulas to calculate the speed of moving                 objects (speed = distance/time).
Global Awareness:  The students will view videos of sports related events (such as a 50 meter race in the      Olympics) to see how knowledge of speed could be used in their everyday life.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: The students will be using real life experiences to create and solve    word problems related to speed.
Communication and Collaboration:  The students will work together to collect data.
Integration of Technology: Use of calculators and stopwatches. 
Equipment & materials needed: Meter sticks, stop watches, clipboards, graph paper, markers, and calculators.

Students will be able to do the following with 70% accuracy:

Learning Activities/Instructional Strategies

Who would need to know about speed? (Drivers, people in a race).
In what situations would it be needed? (Races or driving a car).
How do we measure speed? (Miles per hour or meters per second).
Students will volunteer to demonstrate walking slowly and quickly across the front of the room.  Discuss things or animals that move fast or slow.   



Formative Assessment Tasks

Universal Design for Learning Options

Multiple Means of Representation
  1. Perception – Observation of students moving at different speeds, and use of graphs to represent the student’s speed.  See Exploration: Teacher toolbox – Students that have trouble interpreting the graphs can watch the other students move at different speeds. Online videos can also be shown to the students to demonstrate objects moving at various speeds.    WGBH’s Guidelines for describing STEM images can be used to help visually impaired students have a better understanding of the lines on the distance–time graph.  


  1. Language & symbols – The students will learn to interpret graphs that show slow and fast relative speeds. They will compare the lines of the formula for speed written on a poster.  See Explanation: Teacher Toolbox – The students may use the graphing calculator and motion sensor to try to move at a specific speed, so that their movement matches the speed and graph on the graphing calculator.  CLiCK, Speak is a text to speech program to help students hear the written text.   Students who are struggling with reading the word problems may use this program to hear the problems read aloud to them.


  1. Comprehension – The students will create their own word problems to solve with a partner. See Elaboration.  Teacher Toolbox:   Students can be paired in heterogeneous groups so that students who are comfortable with the math calculations can help others who are struggling.  Math Type can be used to create web documents that can be read with various screen readers or assistive technology programs. Math content can be read aloud for the student’s use. 



Multiple Means of Action and Expression

  1. Physical activity – The students will run from point A to point B in the courtyard. See Engagement and Elaboration. Teacher Toolbox:  Students with trouble moving can have help from a one – on – one or a partner to move between the two points.  Students with fine and gross motor challenges may benefit from the link below. 


  1. Expressive skills and fluency – The students will explain to the class how their group calculated the speeds, and how they determined which speeds were the fastest and slowest.  See Explanation and Elaboration.   Teacher toolbox:  SAM Animation and Animoto can be used to create video presentations to express what they have learned.  http://www.udlcenter.org/implementation/examples/examples5_1
  2. Executive functions - The students will record their information on a data table.  They will complete the class work on a structured worksheet.  See Exploration. 


Multiple Means of Engagement

  1. Recruiting interest- The students can repeat the activity using skateboards, bicycles, or other modes of transportation. See Elaboration.
  2. Sustaining effort and persistence- Students can be placed in heterogeneous groups, and be assigned to different tasks in the group (timer, measurement person, data recorder). See Exploration.
  3. Self-regulation   Check in with the students periodically to see if they are on task while collecting the data and completing the problems.  Use a checklist to monitor how well they stay on task and complete the activity.  See Exploration. Teacher Toolbox:  Create- A –Graph can be used to generate a graph to represent the student’s progress.