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Counterweight STEM Challenge

Students will learn about gravity as they build this counterweight system to move an apple. The gravitational force exerted by the Earth pulls objects downward. Using this principle, students will create a device to move an apple up a ramp without touching it.

This resource is aligned with the following standards:

NGSS 5-PS2-1. Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.

Utah SEEd Standard 3.3.3
Construct an explanation that the gravitational force exerted by Earth causes objects to be directed downward, toward the center of the spherical Earth. Emphasize that “downward” is a local description depending on one’s position on Earth. (PS2.B)

STEM Engineering and Gravity


They started the lesson by giving us an apple and a flat board.  We were to prop up the board to make it into an inclined plane. Then we were challenged to move the apple without pulling it or pushing it with our hands. We were given a few more materials and here are some of the ideas. 

 
Most students used what they knew about simple machines to create a pulley system and use counterweights.   
 
 

 
Some students added extra rate to really make it fly!
 

 
Students can learn about gravity and make a counterweight system in this unit. Gravity and a STEM Challenge 
 
Great critical thinking and great use of science and engineering standards!
 
 
This unit is available in two places. You can download it here on teachingscience of in my TPT Store.
 

Both downloads are identical in every way – if you download directly from this site, you’re giving me the maximum amount of support! Either way, your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.

This site uses 100% secure checkout with PayPal, and after checkout, your download is instantly available.

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy using this unit in your classroom!

 
STEM Engineering and Gravity

Chemical Reaction in Glow Sticks

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    I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!

     
    Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit

    Tina S

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    5
    2016-05-03T18:05:39-06:00

    Tina S

    I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!   Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit
    The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!

     
    Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2

    Richard S

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    5
    2016-05-03T18:07:52-06:00

    Richard S

    The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!   Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2
    As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.

     
    Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4

    Sharon M

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    5
    2016-05-03T18:24:44-06:00

    Sharon M

    As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.   Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4
    Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.

     
    Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning

    Expedition Fourth

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    2020-11-03T20:44:55-07:00

    Expedition Fourth

    Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.   Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning
    My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.

     
    Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer

    Heidi J

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    2020-11-03T20:45:49-07:00

    Heidi J

    My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.   Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer
    5
    3
    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams