teaching resource

Force and Motion – Sorting Activity

Teach Starter Publishing
PDF, Google Slide | 11 pages | Grades: 3 - 4

Explore the effects of a force on an object with this sorting activity.

👀 Looking for Force and Motion Activities?

How well do your students understand different terms associated with force and motion? Are they able to explain the differences between gravity, magnetism, and friction? Teach Starter has created a sorting activity that your students can use to help them identify different examples of forces in the world. 

To play, spread the header cards out on the table. Look at each numbered card and determine which force term the example represents: push, friction, gravity, magnetism, pull, or at rest. Place the card under the appropriate header and record your answer on the recording sheet. Students will sort cards into the following categories:

  • Push
  • Pull
  • Friction
  • Gravity
  • Magnetism
  • At rest

Through this activity, students will explore the effect of force on an object. 

Tips for Differentiation + Scaffolding 

A team of dedicated, experienced educators created this resource to support your science lessons. 

In addition to individual student work time, use this sorting activity to enhance learning through guided science groups or as a science center activity.

If you have a mixture of above and below-level learners, check out these suggestions for keeping students on track with the concepts: 

🆘 Support Struggling Students

Invite students who need additional support to reference previous assignments or posters, such as our Force and Motion – Poster Pack, to help them with this activity.

➕ Challenge Fast Finishers

If there are students who are looking for a bit of a challenge, encourage them to create additional examples for each header card.

🏃 Relay Race

Divide students into two team lines and show a flashcard to the students at the front of each line. The student that states the correct type of force shown first wins the flashcard. The team with the most flashcards at the end of the game wins!

💃 Mirror Game🕺

This activity works best with small groups because you’ll need enough dry-erase boards and markers for each student. Divide your class into 2 groups seated in 2 lines facing each other. Project a task card and give students a set time to record their answers on their boards. On your cue, the students turn their boards around so their partner can see their answers. If both students in a pair have the correct answer, they get 2 points. If one has the correct answer, the team gets 1 point.

Plan lessons for all ability levels with our 10 Best Scaffolding Strategies! 

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Use the dropdown icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or editable Google Slides version of this resource. A recording sheet and answer key are also included with this download. 

Print on cardstock for added durability and longevity. Place all pieces in a folder or large envelope for easy access. 

Sustainability Tip: Print a few recording sheets on cardstock and slip them into dry-erase sleeves. Students can record their answers with a whiteboard marker, then erase and reuse them.  

This resource was created by Kaylyn Chupp, a teacher in Florida and Teach Starter Collaborator. 

Don’t stop there! We’ve got more activities and resources that cut down on lesson planning time:  

Image of Force and Motion – Poster Pack

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Force and Motion – Poster Pack

Display information about force and motion with this set of 12 vocabulary posters.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageGrades: 3 - 4
Image of Understanding Forces – Task Cards

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Understanding Forces – Task Cards

Explore force and motion concepts and how they are presented in the real world with this set of 24 task cards.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageGrades: 3 - 4
Image of Force and Motion Vocabulary Puzzles

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Force and Motion Vocabulary Puzzles

Reinforce science vocabulary with this set of 22 force and motion vocabulary puzzles.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageGrades: 2 - 6


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