Categories : Lesson Plan of the Week
Motion Force is a puzzle game set in space, all about mastering Newton’s laws of motion. You command a small spherical spaceship and try to get from A to B. The catch is that instead of simple commands - e.g. go left, go right, go up - the game requires you to calculate mass, Newtons and directions. In practice, students will come to understand how all these concepts are related.
Read on below for a quick look at the basic gameplay, one of the lessons available for the game and some additional thoughts on how to use the game in your classroom!
Playing the Game
Motion Force consists of nearly a hundred levels of physics puzzle-solving. Each level has three versions, beginning with a normal variant and including two harder optional challenges. To complete a level, the student must get their spaceship to the end point. Along the way, there might be hazards, switches that need to be triggered or helpful alien beings you have to pick up.
The spacecraft in Motion Force is controlled with a sequence of commands, known as a command line. After a student has built their desired sequence, they execute the orders with the click of a button. Basic commands in the game consist of two things: a direction and the force (in Newtons) applied to the spacecraft. All of the movement in the game is based on the (scientifically valid) premise that applying a 10 Newton force to a 1 kg object moves the object a meter during each tenth of a second once it reaches maximum speed.
This lesson focuses on how mass, inertia and velocity all affect motion in their own ways. Mass is in effect the resistance that a body of matter offers to a change in its speed or position upon the application of a force. Inertia is a quality that all objects with mass have: it means that the object will keep doing what it is doing (being still or moving in a certain way) until a force changes their speed or direction. Velocity, on the other hand, is a vector quantity that designates how fast and in what direction a point is moving.
All of the above are concepts accurately depicted in the game, and they are outlined in more detail in the lesson itself.
Motion Force and Your Classroom
Motion Force is a good fit for the later years of grade school and middle school. It explores Newton’s laws and motion through dozens and dozens of challenging levels. These concepts can be somewhat difficult to understand, but Motion Force makes them seem far less complex for students with tangible gameplay mechanics.
Motion Force is available for educators as part of our TeacherGaming Desk subscription. Click here to find out more about the service!