07 Jun

The Year 4 students have been focusing on Forces as part of the transdisciplinary theme of ‘How the World Works’.

Throughout this unit students inquire into scientific principles and consider the impact of science on the world. Using prior knowledge and new understandings, the unit is designed to get the students to pose questions, hypothesise, fair test, conduct experiments, make observations and evaluate their learning.

Specifically this unit of investigation was designed to get students looking at a range of forces including, momentum, friction, air resistance, magnetism, viscosity, lubrication and gravity. We posed questions for further investigations and conducted experiments, testing what happens when a force is applied to an object. Here is a summary of the activities in which the children participated, including recounts from the students.

Games with force
The students began the unit with an exciting provocation. Teachers set up games in the chapel and outside for students to test and play, including bocce, dominoes and knuckles. Mia and Reese explain the problem solving the students were tasked with:

Last week we played some games. All the games had one thing in common and we had to figure it out. On the bocce box, it said something like, ‘Year 4 Movement and Forces’ and that gave me an idea. I started to think of the games I had already played. I thought, they all do have something in common with movement and forces. With dominoes you have to push it and that’s force. In bocce you roll it on the floor and that’s gravity. They all did a thing with forces. We came back and discussed it at the classroom. A lot of people realised it was to do with forces too.

Mia and Reese

Allan the Toy Man
The students enjoyed a visit from ‘Allan the Toy Man’ who brought in a range of toys, games and gadgets, most of which the students had never seen before.

One of the toys was Knuckles. It has been around for a long time. You have to balance the gems on your knuckles and throw them up and land them on your knuckles. I did it today and it landed on my knuckles. My favourite game was dominoes. Its force was gravity and a finger pushing the dominoes.

Emmerson and Kaelan

Once the toy visit concluded the students took their learnings back to the classroom. Using their prior knowledge of how toys work with their new discoveries, the students learnt how to draw a scientific diagram to illustrate how a toy moves/works due to force.

The excursion to the Beachouse
The students were lucky enough to go on an excursion to the Beachouse at Glenelg. Not only did they get to play games and test out rides, they discovered the science behind what makes the Beachouse so awesome.

Scientist Peter (Beachouse owner) taught them about friction, lubrication and gravity when using the waterslides. Students tested out their hypothesis by sending 3 different sized and weighted balls down the slides to see which would come down first.

I loved going to the Beachouse. Our first activity was the water slides, we chose which ball we thought would come down first. I thought it was the yellow ball. I was wrong, it was the white ball because it had more momentum and less friction. I accidentally said that momentum is about being big and fat – I was supposed to say big and fast!


Further investigations included studying the electrical circuits that allow the dodgem cars to work and observing the chemical changes in sugar to make fairy floss. And yes, we all sampled the goods!

For our second activity we made fairy floss because we were looking at reversible and irreversible changes. We also went to the dodgem cars. If you stepped on a positive and a negative charge without your shoes on you would get electrocuted!


We discovered forces affect the movement of objects
Through these various activities the students discovered the affect force has on the movement of objects. The unit also gave students the opportunity to practise their skills in hypothesizing, planning a fair test and explaining and evaluating investigations.

Thank you to Victoria Warner, Year 4 teacher, for sharing this story.