I am starting full-time studnet teaching in the spring and will be starting off on the topic of forces and motion with an 8th grade class. I was wondering what were some good first day demonstrations or activities to get the students engaged in the topic. Also, are there any activites that I should avoid doing or attempting as a new teacher? My studnets seem to respond better to hands-on learning then lecturing and I would like to cater to their learning needs as much as possible. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciatted. Thanks.
I was student teaching this past fall with eighth graders also and had to create lesson plans on Forces and Motion. I noticed my students loved hands on activities and would grasp ideas better when they could manipulate activites. Forces and motion is very easy to create hands on learning. We had students do things such as tug-o-war and arm wrestle the first day to discuss forces acting on each other. When discussing gravity, we had our students calculate their jumps on different planets. We first had students measure the distance they could jump. They created it into a competition with eachother and even other classes would ask about their friends in different classes. When you discuss Newton's Laws of Motion there also a ton of hands on activities you can find online! One assessment that worked well for me was to have students pick their own sport or activity and explain Newton's Laws of Motion through that specific activity. My struggling students excelled in this assessment and were able to grasp the concepts since it created a real-world application and was relevent to their own lives. If you have access to computers phet is an amazing website with tons of different simulations to help students explore some of those harder concepts!
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