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Force Olympics    Mystery 3

Mystery 3 image

In this Mystery students change the strength and direction of a wrecking ball’s push in order to solve a tricky problem.

How can you knock down a wall made of concrete?

Beginning Exploration (1 of 4)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 4)

How`would`you`knock
down`a`concrete
wall?

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Beginning Exploration (3 of 4)
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Beginning Exploration (4 of 4)

How`can`you`make`a
wrecking`ball`hit
harder?`And`not`as
hard?

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Beginning Activity Prep
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Don't Crush That House

In this activity, students play a game where they experiment with the force of a paper wrecking ball in order to knock down a wall of cups. The challenge is, they can’t knock down the paper houses!

Number of students:
Blank Paper (8.5 x 11")
1 sheet per group. Recycled is fine.
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Tape
1 roll per class
Yardstick or Meterstick
1 stick per group
Large Binder Clips (2")
2 clips per group
Masking Tape
1 roll per class
Solo Cups (9 oz)
3 cups per group
Thin String
4 feet per group. Yarn or ribbon will work well.
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Game Station Set (4 pages) printout 1 per group

Prep instructions

Your students will play the Wrecking Ball game in groups, taking turns. To help you determine how many game stations to set up, we suggest splitting your class into groups of 4.

Prepare Game Stations Before Class

Before class, get all the Game Station pieces ready for your students. Follow the directions below or watch this video on how we put the stations together here at Mystery Science.

  1. Find the page titled “The Foldable Houses.” Cut out and fold the houses. (If you are making multiple stations, you can use a paper cutter.)
  2. Find “The Foldable Wrecking Ball” page. Fold it and tie it to the end of the ribbon, following the instructions printed on the sheet. Use transparent tape to keep the Wrecking Ball from unfolding.
  3. You are going to use masking tape to attach the yardstick to your support. To see how, watch this short video. For easier taping, clip the stick to the support first. Make sure the stick is at a 45º angle. Tape at two points — high & low.
  4. wreckingball

  5. Adjust length of ribbon so that the wrecking ball will hit the top of the cups as it swings. Clip the ribbon in place with binder clip.
  6. Tape Game Board to floor, like this. (Match A with A and B with B.)

gameboard

Your students will set up the cups and houses when they are ready to play. gameboard

Beginning Activity: Don't Crush That House
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Beginning Activity: Don't Crush That House
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Beginning Activity: Don't Crush That House
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Beginning Activity: Don't Crush That House
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Beginning Activity: Don't Crush That House
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Beginning Activity: Don't Crush That House
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Beginning Complete!

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading and extension activity in the optional extras.

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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration you just completed.
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Readings for beginning readers:

These Common-Core-aligned readings provide examples of pushes and pulls that make things move. All include comprehension questions and are free with registration on ReadWorks.

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Videos

You need a big push to knock down a building.

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Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

Exploration
hand opening door by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: jassada watt_
girl pushing imaginary wall by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: Juriah Mosin
wall by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: tratong
hammer by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: magicoven
Berlin by argentum , used under Public Domain
hammer by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: abdrahimmahfar
woman smashing wall by Nicole Wharton
building exploding by exception722
building demolition gone wrong by JAY MONDO
wrecking ball in action by Jeff Lowe
double wrecking ball by Benjamin Beytekin
Activity
baby chicks by Image used under license from Shutterstock.com: dianaduda