Motion Force Teacher Guide - How Do You Describe Motion?

How Do You Describe Motion?

Time Required



Students will investigate motion by illustrating and discussing objects in motion.
Students will explore the primary goals and challenges of Motion Force.



Pencil8 x 11 sheet of paper


Motion CardsComputer and Internet access


Make copies of the Motion Cards and cut them out into individual cards.
Be sure students have access to computers so they can view the Motion Force video on the Filament Games website.


Instruct students to read the Introduction in the Student Guide.

Part 1: Motion Card Game

  1. Divide students into pairs and review steps 1 through 3 of the activity. Distribute the Motion Cards to each pair.
  2. Instruct students to complete the activity as you circulate to address questions and guide students to stay on task as needed.
  3. Come together as a class and discuss the activity using the following questions to guide the discussion:

    • How were your drawings different from your partner’s? How were they similar?
    • What did you include in your drawings to show that an object was in motion?
    • How do you know in real life when an object is in motion?

Walk across the room and ask students how they know you are moving. Illustrate another motion, such as raising your hand or jumping up and down. Guide the discussion toward defining the term, reference point. We know that an object is moving when we compare it to an object that appears to stay in place. That object is the reference point. Almost anything near the moving object can be used as a reference point. For example, when you walked across the room, you can use a point on the floor as a reference point. You can also use a clock on the wall.

Ask students whether it would have been easier to draw the objects in motion if they could have drawn two pictures. Why or why not?

Review the definition of motion: a change in position of an object when compared with a reference point.

Part 2: Overview of Motion Force

Have students view the Motion Force video with a partner.

Instruct students to individually complete the Think-Pair-Share activity in the Student Guide. Next, have them share their answers with their partners. Finally, have students discuss their responses as a class. You may either project this activity on a whiteboard or print and distribute a copy to each student. Encourage all reasonable responses and tell students that they will learn more as they play the game.

Sample Responses to Think-Pair-Share Activity:

  • What will be your role in the game?
    I will be responsible for controlling the path of a spacecraft in order to move around obstacles and reach an end portal. In some missions, I will be responsible for helping Fuzzies with their mission problems.
  • What is the goal of the game?
    The goal is to complete all missions. Another goal is to complete achievements.
  • What challenges do you think you might encounter during the game?
    I might find it hard to move the spacecraft in the right direction with the right amount of force. I might also find it hard to draw the most efficient Waypoints in order to reach an end portal.
  • How can you use what you know about motion and forces to successfully play the game?
    I can use the right amount of force in order to move the spacecraft. I can also use the idea that unbalanced forces cause motion.


Let students know that this first game play session is exploratory. They should begin by clicking on the training planet icon and completing the tutorial. Encourage students not only to complete the steps of the tutorial, but also to click on different buttons once they are in the tutorial. The Help and Space Science! buttons are particularly important to explore early in the game. Remind students that they should enjoy the experience and have fun!

  • Once students have logged onto the Filament Games site, they should click on the Play Now button next to Motion Force.
  • Students should click on the training planet icon to start the tutorial. They will have other opportunities to play, so they should take their time completing each step of the tutorial and exploring the features and buttons. You may want to review each term in Space Science! as a class.
  • When students are finished with the tutorial, they should click on the monitor icon to watch a brief story intro. Then, students should click on the star labeled as "next level" to start their first official mission.

Pause and Think

As they play Motion Force, ask students to pause the game for the following brief discussion questions.

  • Once students have completed at least one step of the tutorial, ask: "What is a Waypoint? What is a trajectory?"
    A Waypoint is a point that, when connected to other Waypoints, forms a trajectory. A trajectory is a directional path.
  • After students have had about 10 minutes to play, ask: "What is a rocket boost and how does it work? How did you get your rocket to stop moving?"
    A rocket boost is a force that pushes the spacecraft and causes it to move. Applying an equal and opposite force causes the rocket to stop.
  • After students have had about 15 minutes to play, ask: "Were you able to complete your first official mission? Why or why not?"
    Answers will vary.

After students have had about 20 minutes to play, instruct them to finish for the day and ask them to share their overall results.

Exit Slip

Have students complete the Exit Slip 3-2-1 Summary activity in the Student Guide and submit the activity before leaving the classroom. In addition to answering the questions in the Summary, encourage students to write down any further observations or questions they have about the game. Review the student responses before the next lesson.