PS-K Push, Pull, Go

Motion and force are observable every day, but students may not be aware of different types of motion and the forces that cause them. In Push, Pull, Go students explore this important relationship through inquiry, discussion, engineering, and problem solving. Students also practice using descriptive words, building structures, measuring distance, making predictions, and identifying systems. Throughout a series of five lessons, students manipulate models to learn about motion and draw conclusions about force, energy, gravity, and friction.

Students begin by drawing upon previous knowledge to create definitions for “motion” and “force.” They first explore motion and force by rolling a ball and making observations. To further enforce the unit concepts, students begin working with K’NEX® pieces to build a ramp and roll a ball down it. Students practice measuring distance and relate the amount of force to the distance the ball rolls. Swinging motion is introduced as students build a toy swing set and explain the patterns of movement it produces. Dominoes are used to explore systems and the concept that force can be transferred between objects. Students discuss the motion of spinning and construct tops. Observing a top’s motion allows students to draw conclusions about the forces needed to make something spin, including gravity. In the final lesson, students design and build an invention that combines different motions to create a single system. After testing their inventions, teams define problems and share ideas about how they can be fixed. As a culmination, students revisit the class chart from Lesson 1 and evaluate what they have learned throughout the unit.

NGSS Standards Addressed:

Disciplinary Core Ideas

PS2.A: Forces and Motion
By the end of grade 2. Objects pull or push each other when they collide or are connected. Pushes and pulls can have different strengths and directions. Pushing or pulling on an object can change the speed or direction of its motion and can start or stop it. An object sliding on a surface or sitting on a slope experiences a pull due to friction on the object due to the surface that opposes the object’s motion.
By the end of grade 2. When objects touch or collide, they push on one another and can change motion or shape.
By the end of grade 2. A bigger push or pull makes things go faster. Faster speeds during a collision can cause a bigger change in shape of the colliding objects.
By the end of grade 2. A situation that people want to change or create can be approached as a problem to be solved through engineering. Such problems may have many acceptable solutions. Asking questions, making observations, and gathering information are helpful in thinking about problems. Before beginning to design a solution, it is important to clearly understand the problem.
ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
By the end of grade 2. Designs can be conveyed through sketches, drawings, or physical models. These representations are useful in communicating ideas for a problem’s solutions to other people. To design something complicated, one may need to break the problem into parts and attend to each part separately but must then bring the parts together to test the overall plan.


Science and Engineering Practices

Asking Questions and Defining Problems - in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple descriptive questions.
  • Ask questions based on observations to find more information about the natural and/or designed world(s).
  • Ask and/or identify questions that can be answered by an investigation.
  • Define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.

Planning and Carrying Out Investigationsto answer questions or test solutions to problems in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple investigations, based on fair tests, which provide data to support explanations or design solutions.
  • With guidance, plan and conduct an investigation in collaboration with peers.
  • Plan and conduct an investigation collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence to answer a question.
  • Evaluate different ways of observing and/or measuring a phenomenon to determine which way can answer a question.
  • Make observations (firsthand or from media) to collect data that can be used to make comparisons.
  • Make observations (firsthand or from media) and/or measurements of a proposed object or tool or solution to determine if it solves a problem or meets a goal.
  • Make predictions based on prior experiences.

Analyzing and Interpreting Datain K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to collecting, recording, and sharing observations.
  • Record information (observations, thoughts, and ideas).
  • Use and share pictures, drawings, and/or writings of observations.
  • Use observations (firsthand or from media) to describe patterns and/or relationships in the natural and designed world(s) in order to answer scientific questions and solve problems.
  • Compare predictions (based on prior experiences) to what occurred (observable events).
  • Analyze data from tests of an object or tool to determine if it works as intended.

Crosscutting Concepts

Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes multifaceted. Deciphering causal relationships, and the mechanisms by which they are mediated, is a major activity of science and engineering.
  • Simple tests can be designed to gather evidence to support or refute student ideas about causes.
  • Events have causes that generate observable patterns.


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