Grade 3 units of inquiry: 'Force & Motion' & 'Inventions'

Grade 3 units of inquiry: 'Force & Motion' & 'Inventions'
Serrin Smyth

How The World Works: Force & Motion

Throughout the How The World Works unit of inquiry 'Force & Motion', students inquired into how 'People apply their understanding of force & motion to invent, design and create'.

Students began by unpacking the key concepts of the unit: Force, Motion & Simple Machines through a four quadrant picture challenge where they had to identify the odd picture for the concept and explain why it didn't fit. 

Documented thoughts and questions throughout this activity included:

On the playground, students explored the different push and pull forces within the equipment on the Jungle Gym. 

They investigated through a range of experiments the different types of force & motion in simple machines.

Students shared their designs for testing force and motion on Seesaw through home learning activities.

The third line of inquiry 'inventing, designing and creating mechanical inventions for our world' saw students designing inventions to solve a real world problem in small groups whilst developing the approaches to learning: communication and social skills.

Students developed their understanding of the different types of force and motion further in Art, as they experimented with how artists show movement and force in comics. Exploring the questions:

  • Static vs motion - How can you create the impression of movement in a flat image?

  • What movement is happening and to whom?

  • I know that onomatopoeia is used in comic art - How can we emphasize impact?

Where We Are in Place & Time: Inventions

In this next unit of inquiry, students have begun inquiring into the central idea: 'Inventions have influenced the way we live today and have implications for the future'.

They will be investigating: 

  • Conditions that lead to the creation of inventions 

  • Inventors and inventions throughout history

  • The impact of inventions

In our aim to further develop globally minded citizens, this unit focuses on students developing the awareness that the world is much larger than the community in which we live. Students will be exploring this through local, national and global perspectives considering inventions that have impacted our lives (local), Japanese specific inventions (national), inventions that have changed the world (global) and women inventors:


This unit has a strong focus on history and therefore students will be focusing on developing the thinking skills of a historian: 

Students have begun the unit by solidifying their understanding of the concept 'inventions' in the Frayer Model activity and investigating the difference between inventions and innovation. 

Students discovered the conditions that lead to the creation of inventions and listed many inventions related to these different areas. 

Students will next move into the investigation stage of the inquiry where they will be researching specific inventions in more depth and documenting who was the inventor, when in history the invention was created and how the invention functions. Some of the inventions students will be researching include: paper, the lightbulb, the paper press, money, vaccines, the wheel, steam engine, the television, telephone and internet. 

Below you will find the SOLO taxonomy for this units including guiding questions to support parent/child discussions at home and word vocabulary lists.

SOLO Taxonomy:

This parent version of the SOLO taxonomy may support you to have discussions with your child by asking some of the guiding questions. The questions develop across the SOLO from a shallow understanding where factual knowledge is developed to a more deeper understanding where conceptual understandings are formulate.

Vocabulary Lists:

The Vocabulary Lists are a guide for the possible vocabulary that may be explored throughout the unit of inquiry. You may wish to explore the words within this list with your child in their mother tongue. Perhaps you may talk about the concept of some of the words in English and also in your home language in order to deepen their understanding of them. 



Finally, if you see your child taking action as a result of their learning at school, we would LOVE to hear about it! As action is often taken outside of the learning environment, we often don't know about these opportunities that you as parents are witness to, even a short email telling us about something your child did or said at home as a result of their learning helps us know how the PYP is supporting the development of life long learners that take action! (Please email Ms Smyth, or your child's teacher to share these moments.)

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