Forces & Motion Measurement: Terminal Velocity


This exhilarating curriculum is created in partnership with scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and NOAA to give students a realistic understanding of how the laws of physics affect their world while they work alongside leading researchers to observe, measure, and interpret data.

Forces and Motion: Terminal Velocity explains key concepts related to forces and motion in an engaging and exciting format in which students will perform scientific measurements to examine car crashes and design rovers to explore other planets, among other challenges. Within these missions, students will:

  • Investigate how an understanding of velocity, momentum, and acceleration is key to designing cars that can absorb energy during a crash and save lives
  • Explore how scientists use Newton’s three laws to land a one-ton rover safely on the surface of Mars
  • Analyze how simple and complex machines are being used to clean up a devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

Appropriate Age Levels:
Innovatively designed to be appropriate for upper elementary, middle school, and high school levels. Rigorously aligned to national and state science standards as well as mathematics, social studies, and English language arts standards, and national curriculum standards, including NCTM, IB, and ISTE.

Students gain access to 4 unique missions, each comprising of written articles, labs, field assignments, interactive games, video, and animations.

Mission 1: Critical Measurements – The Quest for Exactness
Host Dan Sawyer, Mechanical Engineer in the Precision Engineering Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, leads students to understand the importance of accurate and precise measurements to help society.

Mission 2: A Universe of Motion – Motion, Velocity and Momentum
Students are led by Matt Brumbelow, a Mechanical Engineer at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as they investigate and analyze the factors that describe motion and position.

Mission 3: Fundamental Forces – Forces and the Laws of Motion
Students join Host Researcher Kobie Boykins, Staff Mechanical Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, as they apply their knowledge of forces and Newton’s Laws of Motion to explore the universe around them.

Mission 4: Make It Work – Work, Power, and Machines
Lisa Jones, a Research Fish Biologist at NOAA, leads students to evaluate the technological and societal applications of work, power, and machines.

Teacher Support Materials:

Specially prepared teacher support materials to support each of the four missions in Tectonic Fury:

  • Pre and Post Tests
  • Data Sheets
  • Lesson Plans
  • A Special Teacher’s Edition
  • Web links and other tools


Additional information


Base Product, Base + Advanced Certificate Add-On