Speed Velocity Acceleration Activity NGSS PS2A


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Card sorts are amazing! Easy prep and engaging activity, that gives students the ability to work with vocabulary in a way that helps foster meaningful discussions with one another about content and helps you as the instructor to check for understanding.

You could use this card sort in the beginning or the end of a unit. I prefer to use it as a review after the students have done numerous activities that would scaffold the card sort. I include a PowerPoint that’s great scaffolding for the card sort (the PowerPoint has a lot more information than needed, I don’t suggest you use it all just for the card sort). Regardless of when you do it, the card sort is very versatile and would fit just about anywhere in a unit.

First print out all the pages of the PDF. Then put the 3 categories in sheet protectors. Cut the other sheets into 24 separate cards, mix them up and place them in one envelope or zip-lock bag per group. Each group will have the three category headings (Speed, Velocity & Acceleration) and an envelope/zip-lock bag with the mixed up cards.

After I go through the PowerPoint (only the slides about speed, velocity & acceleration) and talk about the differences, I have students take out the cards. I tell them they cannot spread them out all over the table. I have one person from each group read one card at a time aloud. This creates discussion and less chaos. Ideally you’d want them to get the sorting correct on the first try, however let them get them wrong and discuss the rationale for the way they sorted the cards. When everyone is done, I play the “They Might Be Giants – Speed and Velocity w/ Marty Beller” YouTube clip. When that’s done I say re-sort if you need to. I wait a few minutes and then play the “This Is Why You Can’t Outrun a Cheetah” YouTube clip.

Eventually I put the key up on the screen, we discuss why they had difficulties sorting them correctly, addressed misconceptions and then they can sort them correctly.

I then introduce the Card Sort chart. This takes the students about 20 minutes to fill in.

The card sort, YouTube clips and the chart take approximately 50-60 minutes.

This resource includes the following:

-24 Cards with pictures students can relate to

-Card Sort Key

-Detailed Teacher Notes

-Student Chart to fill in for reflection and metacognition

-39 Slide Editable PowerPoint

This Activity includes the following NGSS DCI:

PS2.A:  Motion

• All positions of objects and the directions of forces and motions must be described in an arbitrarily chosen reference frame and arbitrarily chosen units of size. In order to share information with other people, these choices must also be shared. (MS-PS2-2)


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