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Physics in Motion, Grade K: STEM Road Map for Elementary School

edited by: Carla C. Johnson, Janet B. Walton, and Erin Peters-Burton

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What if you could challenge your kindergartners to create a mini roller coaster as an entry point to understanding the physics of motion? With this volume in the STEM Road Map Curriculum Series, you can!

Physics in Motion outlines a journey that will steer your students toward authentic problem solving while grounding them in integrated STEM disciplines. Like the other volumes in the series, this book is designed to meet the growing need to infuse real-world learning into K–12 classrooms.

This interdisciplinary module uses project- and problem-based learning to help young children explore cause and effect. It prompts students to create marble track roller coasters as they make discoveries about energy, gravity, friction, and speed. Students will draw on physical science, mathematics, engineering, and English language arts to do the following:

• Demonstrate awareness of motion- and energy-related concepts through play.
• Use technology to research and communicate information.
• Measure, compare, and test numbers related to their project.
• Discuss, investigate, and create a marble track roller coaster.
• Identify careers associated with roller coaster design and construction
• Describe and apply the engineering design process.

The STEM Road Map Curriculum Series is anchored in the Next Generation Science Standards, the Common Core State Standards, and the Framework for 21st Century Learning. In-depth and flexible, Physics in Motion can be used as a whole unit or in part to meet the needs of districts, schools, and teachers who are charting a course toward an integrated STEM approach.

Table of Contents

About the Editors and Authors


Part 1: The STEM Road Map: Background, Theory, and Practice

1 Overview of the STEM Road Map Curriculum Series

Standards-Based Approach

Themes in the STEM Road Map Curriculum Series

The Need for an Integrated STEM Approach

Framework for STEM Integration in the Classroom

The Need for the STEM Road Map Curriculum Series


2 Strategies Used in the STEM Road Map Curriculum Series

Project- and Problem-Based Learning

Engineering Design Process

Learning Cycle

STEM Research Notebook

The Role of Assessment in the STEM Road Map Curriculum Series

Self-Regulated Learning Theory in the STEM Road Map Modules

Safety in STEM


Part 2: Physics in Motion: STEM Road Map Module

3 Physics in Motion Module Overview

Module Summary

Established Goals and Objectives

Challenge or Problem for Students to Solve: Roller Coaster Design Challenge

Content Standards Addressed in This STEM Road Map Module

STEM Research Notebook

Module Launch

Prerequisite Skills for the Module

Potential STEM Misconceptions

SRL Process Components

Strategies for Differentiating Instruction Within This Module

Strategies for English Language Learners

Safety Considerations for the Activities in This Module

Desired Outcomes and Monitoring Success

Assessment Plan Overview and Map

Module Timeline



4 Physics in Motion Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 1: Let’s Explore Motion Through Play!

Lesson Plan 2: Roller Coaster Fun!

Lesson Plan 3: Roller Coaster Design Challenge

5 Transforming Learning With Physics in Motion and the STEM Road Map Curriculum Series

Appendix A: STEM Research Notebook Templates

Appendix B: Observation, STEM Research Notebook, and Participation Rubric

Appendix C: Content Standards Addressed in This Module


Download a sample chapter

Grade Levels



Curriculum Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Kindergarten Lesson Plans Physical Science Physics STEM Teaching Strategies


Type NSTA Press BookPub Date 11/19/2019Pages 125ISBN 978-1-68140-459-2Stock # PB425X16

NSTA Press produces classroom-ready activities, hands-on approaches to inquiry, relevant professional development, the latest scientific education news and research, assessment and standards-based instruction.

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