Pushes, Pulls & Pins



Project Description

Explore forces and programming with an electronic tabletop bowling game. Through experiments and kinetic exercises, students learn about the effect of push and pull forces, different materials, strength, speed, direction, and collision on the movement of objects. While exploring these concepts, students learn how to program their projects to use light sensors to determine how many pins have been knocked down. They flex their creative muscles by composing and coding music, as well as designing animations that indicate strikes and spares.

Key Concepts

Bowling, Pins, Lane, Strike, Spare, Gutter Ball, Push, Pull, Force, Circuit Board, Strength, Strong, Gentle, Distance, Light, Sensors, Programming, Bluetooth, Data, Datasheet, Opaque, Transparent, Translucent, Launcher, Texture, Smooth, Rough, Glide, Engineer, Musical Notes, Pitch, Octave, Scale, Tempo, Coding, LED, Display, Design, Collision, Calibration, Symbol

Essential Question

How can we use electronics and coding to help us understand strength and direction of forces?

Preview our STEAM curriculum with the Pushes, Pulls & Pins Lesson Sampler (Grades K-2).


Summary of Standards


Computer Science Teaching Association Standards (CSTA)
Students will select and operate appropriate software to perform a variety of tasks, use appropriate computer science terminology, and create and follow algorithms.

Common Core ELA
Students will participate in collaborative discussions, use grade-appropriate vocabulary, and ask and answer questions.

Common Core Math
Students will use drawings or objects to represent addition facts.  They will fluently add numbers to solve addition problems.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
Students will plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)
Students will work collaboratively with others, generate questions to deepen understanding of material, and use illustrations and context to clarify word meaning.  They will use basic math strategies to solve problems.

Don’t see your standards here? Contact us to find out how this project aligns to your grade(s).

Learn More

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