Using Juggling in Science: Laws of Gravity
Juggling/Science Lesson Plan, Cody Cooper, October 2012.
I. Type of Lesson – Science Lesson: Using juggling to connect the idea of the laws of gravity to the students.
II. Information about the Class –
Grade Level – Third, Fourth, and Fifth (Resource room)
Diversity – The class is made up of 3 African-American students, 4 Latina/o students, and 4 Caucasian
students;7 students are boys and four students are girls; 3 students are ESL, a student has a hearing
impairment in one ear, and almost all of these students are developmentally delayed. Most of these
students have IEPs. The school reflects low SES.
Background Knowledge – I have seen instruction and have experience with instruction on juggling in a
school setting. This lesson is about using juggling as a form of understanding and experimenting with gravity.
This will require some modeling, guided practice, and independent practice.
III. Rationale (Theory to Practice) –
This lesson is a very interactive and social experience. Children and teachers will have to cooperate
with others in the classroom in order to learn this skill together. There is also an element of emotion
involved; when a student keeps trying the skill but can only manages to fail, he/she will feel very upset.
The children will be encouraged to keep trying, even after multiple failures, in order to gain more
experience and, eventually, they will reach success.
IV. Objectives and Assessment Plans –
Standard #1 – ISBE-S.13.B.2c. Identify and explain ways that science and technology influence the
lives and careers of people.
Objective #1 – The student will be able to identify and explain how the theory of gravity is applicable
Assessment Plan for Objective #1 – I will ask the students questions about our lesson and will use
oral dictation and demonstration with the chart below.
|Question||Yes (1 point each)||No (0 points each)||Comments|
|Did the child display an
understanding of gravity?
|Did the child give an oral
explanation of gravity?
Standard #2 – ISBE-SEL. 2B.2b. Demonstrate how to work effectively with those who are different from oneself.
Objective #2 – The student will be able to work effectively with those who are different from herself/himself.
Assessment Plan for Objective #2 – I will use observations and anecdotal records to assess the students’ ability to work cooperatively with the chart below.
|Question||Yes (1/2 point each)||No (0 points each)||Comments|
|Did the child participate?|
|Was the child participating
the whole time?
|Did the child cooperate with
others (students and adults)?
|Was the child respectful to
V. Materials –
A. Book/Text: None
B. Technology: None
C. Supplies: Balloons, sand, a funnel, a plastic bin (large).
VI. Grouping Techniques –
Types of and justification of grouping – This lesson will be taught with the whole class. The class is
small enough in number for two teachers and at least one paraprofessional to assist students as
needed. *While making the juggling balls, the students will be split into three groups with an adult
who will assist them.
VII. Procedures –
I will build background knowledge by asking if anybody has ever heard of gravity.
Have you ever heard of gravity? Do you know what gravity is? Have you ever experienced gravity?
I will set the purpose by explaining that our project will be an experiment with gravity.
Today, boys and girls, we will be making juggling balls out of balloons and sand. Then, we will learn
how to juggle them and we will be experimenting with gravity.
I will also pique interest by allowing students to make their own juggling balls with adult assistance.
Before we start, we’re going to make our own juggling balls to experiment with. Let’s get into three
groups. (I will split them into groups.)
B. Lesson Steps
I will connect to prior knowledge by asking if any students have heard of Isaac Newton. Then, I will
explain Newton’s role in the theory of gravity.
Does anybody know who Isaac Newton is? He is the first person to study the theory of gravity. He
got the idea one day while lying under an apple tree. An apple fell off the tree and hit him on the
head. He wondered what caused the apple to fall and began to study the theory of gravity.
I will explain gravity as the force that pulls smaller objects toward the center of the larger object.
Gravity is a force that pulls smaller objects toward the center of a large object. Gravity for us is the
force that pulls us toward the center of the Earth.
I will have students make a hypothesis on what will happen to the juggling balls when we throw
them into the air. I will write the classroom hypothesis on the white board.
What do you think will happen when we throw the balls into the air? Do you think they’ll stay there
or drop? When we make a prediction about a science experiment, we call it a “hypothesis”. What is
our hypothesis about our juggling experiment? Let’s test this hypothesis.
I will model gravity through the use of juggling balls.
What happens when I throw this ball in the air? (Throw the ball up and let it drop.) What
happened?(Model juggling one ball between two hands.) This is how we juggle one ball. Does it
still drop? Why/why not? What changed? Does it drop as far? Why/why not?
I will guide student practice of gravity through the use of juggling balls.
Now, let’s try this together. Everybody take one ball. Throw it up with one hand (not too high!)
and catch it with the other.Then, throw it back up with that hand and catch it with the other one.
I will ask the students to practice cooperatively throughout the classroom.
Keep practicing with one until you feel comfortable. Once you think you’re ready, you can grab
another ball and try to juggle them. To start, you’ll have one ball in each hand. Then, you’ll throw
the first one up. As the first ball starts to drop, throw the next ball up and catch the first ball with
the other hand. Once you think you’ve got the hang of two, you can add in a third ball. To start,
you’ll have two balls in one hand and one ball in the other. Then, it works the same way as before;
as the first ball starts to drop, throw the next ball up and catch the first ball with the other hand.
I will recall and evaluate their hypothesis.
What was our hypothesis? Did that happen? How might it have been different?
I will ask students to compare and contrast their own experiences with gravity.
Does anyone have anything special about juggling that they want to share? Do you think it was
hard/easy? Why/why not?
I will encourage students to continue independent practice of juggling at home.
Now, let’s put our juggling balls away and get ready to go to PE. You can take your juggling balls
home and continue practicing if you would like to do so.
Did you like this lesson? Why/why not? What did you like the most/least? Do you think this helped
you understand gravity? How would you change this lesson to make it better?
VIII. Reflection –