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Physical Science Activity Overview

Physical Science Activity Overview


Tara Robnett
Ashford University
EDU417 Cognitive Studies Capstone
Instructor: Joanna Savarese-Levine
May 2, 2016

Physical Science Activity Overview

Physical Science Activity Overview


In response to Clark Countys week long Science and Technology Festival, my director
has asked me to create an exciting and fun science themed activity for the after school program.
In addition I would like this activity to follow brain based learning curriculum. Students that
attend range from k-5. The theme of this activity will be physical science: force, gravity, friction
and speed. This activity will progress through the week ending with a science party on Friday
complete with demonstrations from students.
In order to create this activity in such a short amount of time I have altered the
curriculum I have found through DiscoveryEducation.com. Some of the changes I made to make
this activity more brain based include making activities skill appropriate at different levels; use
of different learning styles incorporating observation, movement, discussion, note taking and
hands on activities; accessing the attention, emotions and the reward system; scaffolding; social
learning; and peer teaching.
The brain learns in specific ways. However every brain is uniquely organized and learns
differently (Sousa & Tomlinson 2011). The brain seeks out patterns and determines whether or
not incoming information is relevant or not (Sousa & Tomlinson 2011). In order to build long
term memories students need to stay focused and engaged. By making this activity fun,
interesting and challenging I believe it makes it relevant and can keep students engaged and
focused.
Emotions play a major part in the learning process. Negative emotions can block the path
to the cognitive thought process only using the lower functioning reactive parts of the brain.
Positive emotions equal positive outcome allowing for cognitive function and memories to form.

Physical Science Activity Overview

This is a fun and social activity in which student will learn through play, social interaction and
hands on activities. I have made this activity skill appropriate, taken out formal assessments
which leads to less stress during the learning process. There is some competition which can
increase student drive for accomplishment and increase self-concept. Personal reward is
accomplished through task completion and seeing their machine work and can be increased with
the positive reactions of peers during presentations. All of these aspects lead to an increase of
positive emotions.
Problem solving or convergent learning in which there is no single answer to solve a
problem stimulates the frontal lobe which is the executive center for higher-order thinking
(Sousa & Tomlinson 2011). During this activity students are encouraged to find solutions and
make changes to their design in order to make it better. This encourages students to compare and
contrast, figure out details and understand the concepts of motion. There is no one solution to
making their machine or ramp better so they are also able to experiment and use the information
they are learning in order to strengthen neurons.
I was hard pressed to find curriculum that crossed all ages from k-5 in the subject of
physical science. Specific changes I made regarding this activity was to first make sure the
curriculum was appropriately challenging. I needed to make sure that students were going to
work within their own skill levels not above or below. With such a large gap in skill levels one
of the biggest changes I made to the curriculum was combining three different activities within
the same scope. All students will be learning about force, gravity, friction and speed but in three
different activities.
Grades k-1 will be building a ramp and testing speed, gravity and friction. Grades 2-3
will be building and balloon racer and testing force, speed and friction. Lastly grades 4-5 will be

Physical Science Activity Overview

building a catapult and working with force, gravity and weight and counter weight. Each activity
is increasingly harder and contains more information than that of the previous groups. Already as
part of the curriculum there is use of visuals such as the DVD that explains force, gravity,
friction and speed. I have added other demonstrations, handouts and online research. K-1
students will be scaffolded with their reading and recording process. Staff will be available to
help any student through instruction and scaffolding as well if needed to complete activity.
The 2-3 grader activity was the only activity I did not find on the
DiscoveryEducation.com. I changed the curriculum to follow the same procedures as the other 2
activities. I have also added extra supplies than were provided in the supplies list for this
activity. I kept the instructions on how to build the balloon racer as a basic reference but also
included examples of builds using the other types of supplies.
I combined the vocabulary list for k-1 and 4-5 graders making an extended vocabulary
list in order to encompass all three activities. I have also changed the way students will review
vocabulary words. Instead of a fill in the blank or matching I have turned the vocabulary into a
game like charades in which they act out actions and use the vocabulary words as the answers.
This will not only make the content more fun but also increase neuro connections by adding
body movement and visual aspect to the exercise.
All activities are fun, exciting and hands on providing many opportunities for
investigation, comparison and problem solving. The brain learns best through trial and error so I
have provided more time to experiment and record data. I have also provided time for discussion
to work out any problems students may have and time to make adjustments and fix errors. There
is also added time for independent testing and logging of information to encourage more

Physical Science Activity Overview

comparison and understanding of concepts. Added questions to 2-3 will encourage observation
and problem solving skills through prediction.
The brain learns in specific ways. However every brain is uniquely organized and learns
differently (Sousa & Tomlinson 2011). The brain seeks out patterns and determines whether or
not incoming information is relevant or not (Sousa & Tomlinson 2011). In order to build long
term memories students need to stay focused and engaged. By making this activity fun,
interesting and challenging I believe it makes it relevant and can keep students engaged and
focused.
Emotions play a major part in the learning process. Negative emotions can block the path
to the cognitive thought process only using the lower functioning reactive parts of the brain.
Positive emotions equal positive outcome allowing for cognitive function and memories to form.
This is a fun and social activity in which student will learn through play, social interaction and
hands on activities. I have made this activity skill appropriate, taken out formal assessments
which leads to less stress during the learning process. There is some competition which can
increase student drive for accomplishment and increase self-concept. Personal reward is
accomplished through task completion and seeing their machine work and can be increased with
the positive reactions of peers during presentations. All of these aspects lead to an increase of
positive emotions.
Problem solving or convergent learning in which there is no single answer to solve a
problem stimulates the frontal lobe which is the executive center for higher-order thinking
(Sousa & Tomlinson 2011). During this activity students are encouraged to find solutions and
make changes to their design in order to make it better. This encourages students to compare and
contrast, figure out details and understand the concepts of motion. There is no one solution to

Physical Science Activity Overview

making their machine or ramp better so they are also able to experiment and use the information
they are learning in order to strengthen neurons.

Physical Science Activity Overview

Resources
Sousa, D. A. & Tomlinson, C. A. (2011). Differentiation and the brain: How neuroscience
supports the learner-friendly classroom. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press