One of the main goals and objectives in writing this unit is the integration of the New Haven district’s content standards in the areas of language arts, social studies, science, mathematics, and social development through the study of simple machines. The scientific connections in the curriculum between simple machines and science are obvious. This unit’s attempt to integrate the social studies, language arts, mathematics, and social development curriculum may not be as clear, yet an important focus of the unit that I hope to get across to the reader.
I focus on four content standards in my aim to create an integrated unit of study on physics. Though it may be too broad as a goal, many other standards that are not here listed will be required, introduced, used, or touched upon. I have chosen at least one of each of the standards on reading, writing, social studies and library media, and technology as the core of the unit.
Although the unit can be adapted to meet the needs of diverse learners, I write it with the content standards in mind for science, mathematics, social studies and language arts specific in the second grade. A list of the content standards that this unit aims to cover in its duration and the tasks the child should be able to perform is located in Appendix A.
With the selection of these content standards I intend to set up an environment where the students will be able to explore and learn about the physics concepts involved in simple machines. The question we seek to answer is: what role do simple machines play in our lives?
Students will create representations (visual, written, model, etc.) that reflect the basic principles learned, tell what the principles are, provide information, have a point of view, or demonstrate an appreciation and understanding of simple machines.
The work habits that the unit will focus on will be 1.attending to details, and 2.accuracy. This will be accomplished through questioning techniques, models, reports, and games. The thinking skills that will be focused on will be to sequence and list different simple machines. As a way of developing an interpretation, and making connections, the children will contrast and compare certain elements of one of the simple machines and relate them to classroom and home objects. They will also look for simple machines within complex machines.
Children will be provided with many opportunities to observe the physics principals, with opportunities to create objects with Legos®, links , through writing, by making special projects, movement, etc., which show reflection upon the simple machines and their uses in today’s society.
As the unit progresses, broadening the scope of the questions and making connections among the different simple machines will be the focus. These simple machines will be presented and discovered during science classes and there will be a period to respond to them. At times this will be done individually, in pairs, or small groups. The overall objective is to bring alive some of those principles that are part of the human race and to begin to have a better understanding of all that surrounds us.