Build your own finger

 Author: Lisa R. Bobich

AreaLife Sciences 

 Grade Level: 7-12



This lesson focuses on building understanding of Newton’s Laws, while also getting students to think about biological structures, such as bones and muscles, and how these two concepts interact to produce body movement. By building their own "finger", students will gain an understanding of forces and how they interact.



Builds on Fundamental Concept: Form & Function

National Science Content Standards:

Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry

· Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

· Understandings about scientific inquiry

Content Standard B: Physical Science

· Motions and forces

o The motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion, and speed. That motion can be measured and represented on a graph.

o An object that is not being subjected to a force will continue to move at a constant speed and in a straight line.

o If more than one force acts on an object along a straight line, then the forces will reinforce or cancel one another, depending on their direction and magnitude. Unbalanced forces will cause changes in the speed or direction of an object's motion.

Content Standard C: Life Science

· Structure and Function in Living Systems

o Specialized cells perform specialized functions in multicellular organisms. Groups of specialized cells cooperate to form a tissue, such as a muscle. Different tissues are in turn grouped together to form larger functional units, called organs. Each type of cell, tissue, and organ has a distinct structure and set of functions that serve the organism as a whole.

o Disease is a breakdown in structures or functions of an organism. Some diseases are the result of intrinsic failures of the system. Others are the result of damage by infection by other organisms.


Strand 1: Inquiry Process

Concept 1: Observations, Questions, and Hypotheses

o PO 1. Formulate questions based on observations that lead to the development of a hypothesis.

o PO 3. Generate a hypothesis that can be tested.

Concept 2: Scientific Testing (Investigating and Modeling)

o PO 4. Performed measurements using appropriate scientific tools (e.g., balances, microscopes, probes, micrometers).

o PO 5. Keep a record of observations, notes, sketches, questions, and ideas using tools such as written and/or computer logs.

Concept 4: Communication

o PO 1. Communicate the results of an investigation.

o PO 2. Choose an appropriate graphic representation for collected data: line graph, double bar graph, stem and leaf plot, histogram

o PO 3. Present analyses and conclusions in clear, concise formats.

o PO 4. Write clear, step-by-step instructions for conducting investigations or operating equipment (without the use of personal pronouns).

o PO 5. Communicate the results and conclusion of the investigation.

Strand 2: History and Nature of Science

Concept 2: Nature of Scientific Knowledge

o PO 1. Apply the following scientific processes to other problem solving or decision making situations: observing, questioning, communicating, comparing, measuring, classifying, predicting, organizing data, inferring, generating hypotheses, identifying variables

o PO 2. Describe how scientific knowledge is subject to change as new information and/or technology challenges prevailing theories.

Strand 5: Physical Science

Concept 2: Motion and Forces

o PO 2. Identify the conditions under which an object will continue in its state of motion (Newton’s 1st Law of Motion).

o PO 3. Describe how the acceleration of a body is dependent on its mass and the net applied force (Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion).

o PO 4. Describe forces as interactions between bodies (Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion).


 Keywords: Newton's Laws, Forces, Hand, Finger, Muscles

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 Lesson Plan (pdf/doc)