CSCOPE Force Lessons

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 CSCOPE’s Instructional Science Material 

CSCOPE present false force facts in 4th grade that are used in later grades.Place a toy car on a ramp and let it roll down.

1. What do you observe? Answers will vary.

CSCOPE supports accepting any answer.


While the answer may vary, there are specific points that should be recorded, such as: car rolled down the ramp. The speed of the car increased until it reached the bottom of the ramp, then it either stopped or continued to move in a straight line on flat surface, slowing until it stopped (could run into something that stopped it).

2. What forces were involved when the car moved down the ramp?

  • A push when the car was placed on the ramp.

CSCOPE identifies the word PUSH as a specific type of force.

Correct Fact: A push describes the direction of a force, but a push is not a force. People push a car, or push a box, which indicates the force applied is in a direction away from the source of the force.  Ocean waves push rocks onto the beach.

Since the question is to identifying the forces acting on the car when it moves down the ramp, there are no pushing forces acting on the car.

  • A pull (when the car went down the ramp [gravity])

Again, CSCOPE identifies the word PULL as a specific type of force.

Correct Fact: A pull describes the direction of a force, but pull is not a force. A boy pulled the wagon, which indicates the boy is pulling the wagon toward him.

Gravity is the force pulling on the car. Since the car rolls down the ramp, which is at an angle to the ground, this activity should not be used to introduce the force of gravity.

  • Friction(helping the car to come to a stop). Later in the CSCOPE lesson, friction is defined as force between two surfaces rubbing against each other.More Information Needed:
    Friction is a force that resist motion when one object moves over the surface of another object; friction is a force in the direction opposite the motion of the object.

Forces for Fourth Graders

Down in reference to gravity means vertically toward the ground, or center of the Earth.

1. Gravity is the force that pulls objects toward the center of the Earth.  This is something that kids can relate to. Weight is equal to the measurement for the amount of gravity pulling an object down, toward the center of Earth.

Gravity Science Challenge

1. Demonstrate the direction of gravity.


How can you measure the force of gravity acting on your body?

Note: At this time, the English unit of pound, lb, can be used to measure the force of gravity. A bathroom scale can be used.  Later the Metric or SI unit of newton can be introduced.





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  1. Scott Klump says:

    Again your facts!!! A push is ABSOLUTELY a force. Anything that changed the motion of an object is a force! A push will certainly do this!

    • Janice VanCleave says:

      You misunderstand—Gravity is a type of force. The description of gravity is that it pulls things toward the center of Earth. PULL is the description of gravity, but pull is not a TYPE of force. Push and pull are terms that describe forces, but the terms push and pull are not types of forces. You could use nouns and verbs to explain this. Types of forces are nouns and the terms “push” and “pull” are verbs describing the action of a force.