The Impulse Science Game: Teaching Laws of Motion

Posted by SM Bruner on

You can use GameUp’s Impulse game to help students learn about Newton’s first and second laws of motion and his law of universal gravitation. Developed by our partner, EdGE at TERC, Impulse science game allows students to take on the role of a particle that is embedded in a sea of enemy particles that react and behave under realistic Newtonian mechanics. Students must avoid collisions as they propel their own particle to the goal. In order to meet the goal, students need to study the behavior of particles in order to be able to predict their motion and avoid them as they travel to the goal. They’ll need to budget their energy use as they grapple with gravity, electric forces, and the effects of Newton’s laws of motion.

To play, click on one side of the green particle to give it a push and navigate your way to the goal. Click next to other particles to help clear a path. But be careful—the closer you click to a particle, the faster it goes. Try to be patient and not to click too many times, or you’ll run out of energy. There are 70 levels to the game, each of which takes approximately 1 minute to play. After Level 70, players can enter “infinity mode” that has an infinite number of levels.

The game is an excellent primer for younger students just learning about forces and how things move. Older students can use the game as a model in their learning of the physics of motion. We’ve provided a lesson ideas page with related lesson plans and other teaching resources to help you implement the game with your students.