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Human figure running and stopping.

Activities B1 to B4 make up Science in Motion: Colossal Collisions. Start with the activity below to help your students learn language and concepts related to movement.

Activity B1 Let's get moving [ZIP, 423 KB]

How to use this activity

This first activity sets the scene for the concepts and language in Colossal Collisions. Accept students’ first descriptions and vocabulary, but also model the words scientists use. This way, a common understanding of terminology develops as well as how to express these ideas in a representation – in this case, a graph.

A visual word bank on the wall can be of great value in making vocabulary available for all the class.

The Colossal Collisions set of activities builds toward a summative writing task where students draw their learning together and use it as evidence to explain a decision they make.

Discussion using the Science Capability questions around the meaning, strengths and weaknesses of the representation are important in developing a critical understanding of what representations have to offer and how scientists communicate their work.



As outlined above this unit provides opportunities to develop student’s vocabulary.

Digital Technologies

These ideas around describing motion fit well with the DT Curriculum where students could be introduced to programming. This could de either without devices (unplugged), in Scratch, or by using Spheros, B Bots or other programmable bots. The task might be to design an obstacle course for each other involving stopping, accelerating, going at constant speed, or decelerating. If doing it unplugged, symbols can represent the movement. Working in groups of three, students could take turns in the following roles:

  1. Observing someone do their course
  2. Doing the course
  3. Debugging - taking notes of where the course was incorrect, did not work or could be improved.


This lesson focuses on using a graph as a representation of movement. It fits well with the Statistics Strand where from Level 2 onwards there is a focus on displaying and categorising data.

Where it fits in the New Zealand Curriculum

Nature of Science strand

Communicating in Science - extending vocabulary, using and understanding graphs.

  • Science activities can be used to develop any of the Nature of Science (NoS) sub strands.
  • Identify aspects of Communicating in Science that your students need to develop or understand more fully.
  • Then frame your lesson to be very clear about these things when you do them.

NZ Curriculum | Science achievement objectives(external link)

Capability focus

Interpret Representations

The five science capabilities (TKI - Science online)(external link)

Contextual strand

Physical World, Achievement objective: explore, describe and represent patterns and trends for everyday examples of physical phenomena, such as movement, forces etc.

Big science idea

Movement is the action of an object changing location or position.


  • Movement is caused by a force.
  • Movement can be described as stationary, constant, increasing or decreasing, forwards, backwards, upwards or downwards.

Capability concepts

  • There are patterns and relationships in what we observe.
  • Explanations in science are based on evidence gathered.

Possible learning objectives

The students can…

  • identify and describe patterns involving movement
  • describe the movement of any object verbally or through using a representation
  • interpret what is happening in a simple speed time graph.
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