Submarine shape investigation

Lesson overview

This lesson starts off by establishing the story of the whole unit. The students will be using the information learned in the unit to design a submarine for exploring the ocean depths.

The context of the lesson is a practical investigation to discover a suitable shape that can dive and rise at a speed safe enough for the scientists inside the submarine. Students develop their understanding of forces, surface area, and fair testing.

Learning outcomes

  • Test different shapes to compare how they fall through the water (foundation)
  • Explain how the shape affects the speed of descent (developing)
  • Design and carry out a fair test (competent)
  • Explain how differences in gravitational and resistive forces affect descent of an object (expert)
  • Explain why surface area affects the speed of descent (advanced)

Lesson steps

  1. Brief (15 mins)
    Students view 360VR panoramas of a submarine dive and answer questions, before being introduced to the purpose of the overall module (designing a submarine) and aim for this lesson (choosing a suitable shape). Students set themselves targets based on the intended learning outcomes for the lesson.
  2. Investigation (25 mins)
    Students follow the investigation brief to try to find a ‘submarine’ shape that falls through a cylinder of water in a given time. Students are encouraged to adapt their results, and make changes as they go, while considering how they keep their testing fair.
  3. Forces and surface area (10 mins)
    Using the slides, students are introduced to the role of forces in descent and the effects of surface area on descent. Students demonstrate their learning by follow-up questions on their investigation worksheets.
  4. Summary conversation (5 mins)
    Students demonstrate their learning by drafting a short conversation between themselves and a new team member, to explain the purpose of the lesson.
  5. Self-reflection (5 mins)
    Students follow the investigation brief to try to find a ‘submarine’ shape that falls through a cylinder of water in a given time. Students are encouraged to adapt their results, and make changes as they go, while considering how they keep their testing fair.
activity age bookmark-fill icon bookmark boy-girl calendar chevron-down icon close icon compass cross icon download encounter-live facebook gallery icon instagram icon Instagram icon linkedin links icon location mail icon map next play previous professional-development right-arrow icon search share single image social-media speaker spinner icon students subject-update teacher-resources tick icon time twitter user video-lesson video youtube