Relative Position and Motion - I-Spy as an Introductory Lesson and Notes relating to concepts, standards and outcomes.

Student Background
Students will think that an object may move relative to one reference object but not another.

From standard, benchmark, or other to lesson objective, outcome, or goal
If the standard includes something about "... develop an understanding of motion and forces...", then it needs more description of the physical properties of objects as a cause of their motion or forces. It needs to include the process of relative position and motion and the skill of understanding and explaining how objects move comparative to different objects.

Concept The description of an object's position is relative to a reference position. An object 's motion is described relative to a reference position. Objects are located relative to a reference object. The description of an object's position changes from one reference point to another. The description of an objects' motion changes from one reference point to another.

Standard ... Understanding of motion and force... ; ... process skill relative position and motion...

Outcome Students will describe the position and location of stationary and moving objects relative to other objects. Students will describe the position and location of stationary and moving objects from at least two reference points that would cause substantial differences in the descriptions of the location and motion.

Play I spy and object by using only positions to describe the location of the object. No physical descriptions of the object are allowed. "The object is above us. The object is below the ceiling. The object is right of the clock..." After students are fairly familiar with playing the game, ask them what is similar about the kinds of words they are using. If the students don't respond, then suggest to continue with the game and write the hints on the board. Continue and have the students describe the pattern that they see with the words. Discuss what words are changing and what words are not and how the change of some words is necessary.... When students are focused on the position descriptors, suggest that a list of those words are made. Make a list and have the students sort or classify the words.

When the students are familiar with the descriptors and are comfortable with that part of the game divide the class into two groups and have one group describe the location of an object. Write the description so all can read it. Then have the second group describe the same object from a different part of the room that will need a different group of descriptors to locate the object. Ask the students why the there are different descriptors and sometimes they are opposites.

Continue to discuss how and why different descriptors are need for the same objects. Repeat the procedure for a different object in the class. Continue with objects in the class until the students get the idea. When you are confident that students are constructing the concept, then challenge them to describe the location of a place in the school from their classroom and then from a different part of the school building or grounds.
When students get the idea of this, challenge them by playing the game backwards. for example. Don't tell them the starting location, but give them the description to locate a place or object and what the final place or object is. Then ask them if they can identify the starting position.
Have students create their own backwards descriptions as a puzzle for their classmates, trade with a partner, solve the puzzle, and then share their discoveries with the class. Continue to add descriptors to the list and other significant learnings about how to locate objects and how descriptions change relative to starting position (position of person....[is the person the reference position?])
Equilibration for.... would be expected before continuing and generalization should be achieved also.
Generalization: The description of an object's position is a matter of personal perspective. Have students explain if this is an accurate statement or not and why they believe it is or is not.

Continue with the same ideas only describe a position of an object as it moves...

Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©