Reference Frames and Scale Units Science Games

In this series of games, your students will learn how speed, motion, and other metrics are measured. The Reference Frames and Scale Units learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performance in your classroom, as demonstrated by research.

Scroll down for a preview of this learning objective’s games and the concepts they drive home.

Concepts Covered

Motion is a change in position. An object’s motion is described in terms of its speed and direction (velocity) and any change in its velocity.

In order to describe position and motion, we need a certain frame of reference, such as a point on a grid. All of these descriptions — like fast, slow, north, south, left, right — are relative to the position and motion of other objects.

We usually describe position and motion with measured values. The standard (SI) units scientists use include meters (m) for distance, seconds (s) for time, and kilograms (kg) for mass. Putting these units into scientific equations, we derive other units, like m/s for velocity, m/s2 for acceleration, and kg m/s2, or Newtons, for force.

Without a frame of reference and specific units, values are meaningless. Scientific notation is used when describing very large or very small values, as it is much easier to read. For example, 17,000,000 is written as 1.7 × 107, and 0.00000017 is written as 1.7 × 10-7.

In total, there are nine games in this learning objective, including:

  • Feeling Jumpy?
  • Walter’s Travels – Reference Frames & Scale Units
  • Cowapult
  • Ms. Rose & Reference Frames and Units
  • Matching Unit
  • Balance
  • Units & Motion
  • Car Challenge – Reference Frames and Scale Units
  • Sekhmet – Inner Equilibrium

A further preview of each game is below.

You can try the games within the learning objective for free on the Legends of Learning site with an account.

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Tags: motion, speed, velocity, acceleration, position, relative, direction, scientific notation, Newton, kilogram, meter, second, liter, mass, distance, time, volume, weight, SI units, gravity, reference point, latitude, longitude

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