Video Story Problem – Newton’s Laws of Motion

Late last summer I went on a video-binge, capturing so many video story problem concepts that my iPhone and Flip cam regularly ran out of battery power before mid-afternoon snack time. While recharging and importing all of the videos to my laptop, I dumped all of the videos in folder, which I mostly forgot about until recently. Most of the videos weren’t terribly interesting after looking at them a second time, but a few stood out, particularly one I took from a playground at an elementary school somewhere in the middle of the “thumb” area of Michigan.

The playground had one of those “zip line” pieces of playground equipment, and I couldn’t resist a chance to zip across the playground. It reminded me of my intern teaching, when I put together a small project, asking the students to share examples of Newton’s Laws of Motion in the real world. At the time, the students put together scrap-book like projects with magazine pictures glued onto notecards and whatever other materials they could find at home. I love those sorts of open-ended student assessment projects, and that thought popped into my head as I hurled myself along the zip line, so I got out my camera, and my lovely wife captured the video for the science challenge video below. If you can’t see it, you can follow the link here to view.

I’m not sure if I asked the question correctly, or even if it’s as open ended as I thought it was when I was “geeked” up on playground fun, but I left the challenge open for students to create their own videos as well. What’s more important, is that any teacher could use a simple video prompt like this to get students up and out into the “real world” and complete assessments! That’s not to say I’m looking for a way to push more work into home time, but rather, find a way to get students engaged enough about what’s happening inside the classroom that they might actually want to keep exploring topics and the world around them outside of the classroom. What they bring back would be an excellent way to check for their understanding in the middle of a unit, or just give them a chance to show you that they’re playing with the concepts from the classroom.