What Is FOSS?
FOSS Components
FOSS K–8 Scope and Sequence
    Middle School
    Grades 5–6
    Grades 3–4
    Grades 1–2
  Correlation to Standards
Research on FOSS and Ongoing Projects
  Science and Literacy
  FOSS for All
  FOSS Staff

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Full Option Science System – Middle School


Force and Motion Course


The world is filled with motion. Some motion happens without human intervention: Earth revolves around the Sun, snowakes fall to the ground, waves surge across the sea, salmon swim up rivers to ful€ll their destinies. Other motions are under our control: clock hands faithfully monitor time, jet planes streak across the sky, baseballs fly over center €eld fences, bicycles race in the Tour de France. Both natural and designed motions are part of our perception of the world—there is nothing special about them.

What we take for granted is often worthy of contemplation, in part because it is so commonplace. Familiarity can breed a sense of innate understanding where none really exists. We rarely question what makes things move, often resorting to the popular nonexplanation, “That’s the way the world works.”


Forces make things move or, more accurately, make things change their motion. The two natural forces that affect most of the motion we are aware of are the force of gravity and the electromagnetic force. If a peanut slips between your fingers in the backyard, the force of gravity will pull it to the ground. If the same peanut happens to fall onto the picnic table, the force of gravity will still pull the peanut, but it will not fall to the ground. Why? Because the table is pushing up against the peanut with a force exactly equal to the force exerted by gravity pulling the peanut down. The force opposing the force of gravity is the electromagnetic force, expressed in countless molecular interactions in the matter in Earth and the table.

These ideas seem to conflict. Over here force results in change of motion. But over there force produces no change of motion. Welcome to force and motion. This is where you and your students will start to uncover explanations for why things work in the ways we expect them to work.

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