Unit Title

Fluid Mechanics


Physics (High School Level)

Designed by

Alex Bunting

Time Frame

6 Lessons (80-85 mins each)

Stage 1- Desired Results

Establish Goals

Note: Goals are based upon 80-85 minute lessons. Normally for a 60 minute lesson I would expect 3 goals per lesson (4 in exceptional circumstances, or to help word the goal in a more student friendly manner).

After the six lessons (or at various points during the unit) students will be able to:

  • Define the density of an object in terms of its mass and volume. (all)
  • Recall common examples of fluids and non-fluids. (all)
  • Distinguish between different substances to determine if they are fluids. (all)
  • Recall the tale of Archimedes, and how he used observation to solve a difficult problem. (all)
  • Analyse various objects' composition based upon Archimedes principle (most)
  • Describe the difference between a real fluid and an ideal fluid. (all)
  • Classify different fluids by their viscosity (all)
  • Calculate the apparent weight of an object. (most)
  • Define apparent weight. (all)
  • Understand the concept of pressure. (all)
  • Calculate pressure acting upon an object. (all)
  • Describe how a solid, liquid or gas experience pressure differently. (most)
  • Recall what the buoyant force is. (all)
  • Calculate the weight of a fluid. (most)
  • Calculate complex Buoyancy problems. (few)
  • Explain and Calculate atmospheric pressure. (some)
  • Derive the Buoyant force. (some)
  • Define Pascals Law (few)
  • Describe the properties of liquids that lead to pascals law. (few)
  • Perform calculations using pascals law. (few)


Learners will be able to....

What kinds of long-term independent accomplishments are desired?

  • To become better independent learners through self working on problems, and seeking help from peers when required.
  • A better appreciation for ‘The Scientific Method’. Getting students to make sense of what they see and learning for themselves. To use laboratory techniques and collaborative efforts to learn about nature.
  • To get students to think and predict before seeing and doing, and then to reflect upon this and think about why their predictions might not have been 100% accurate.
  • For students to become more vocal learners and be comfortable asking questions and helping other answer their questions.
  • For students to work at pushing themselves further into a topic, and encouraging curiosity of topics that are not specifically assessed.



Learners will understand that...

  • Buoyancy is a force that is generated by a change in pressure between the top and bottom of an object.
  • Pressure is a result of a force applied to an area.
  • Archimedes used simple experimental technique based upon observation to solve a complex problem.
  • Fluids can be either a liquid or a gas, but that categorising solutions into these two categories is sometimes more complex.
  • Weight as we know it is actually an apparent weight because of the air that surrounds us,

Essential Questions

Learners will keep considering...

  • What is buoyancy.
  • What counts as a fluid and how do they differ.
  • How does this fit into the whole idea of mechanics (its just another force!)


Learners will know…

  • How calculate the volume of an object with a strange shape using archimedes laws.
  • How to identify a particular fluid, and to categorise it by several properties (density, viscosity, state).
  • How to calculate the apparent weight of an object in a fluid or when in a moving object (such as an elevator).

Learners will be skilled at...

  • Collaborating with their peers and asking questions to help their learning.
  • Making notes on a video that will help them learn.
  • Peer assessing other student’ work to help them learn better from their mistakes.
  • Planning their unit out in advance to help them achieve their own goals.

Stage 2- Evidence


Learners will show that they understand by evidence of…

GRASPS Task(s) written in student-friendly language:


  • You will submit several of the activities you complete for peer assessment.
  • To have a go at answering all available flashcards everyday (right or wrong).


You will be required to both have your work assessed, and to assess other students work.


Your audience is the other members of the class.


  • You will be working on a variety of different concepts during these lessons, and you will be peer assessed as you go along. You will need to peer assess others as you go along also.
  • The flash cards are designed to only display after you manage to forget them, so if you get it right you wont see it for a while, if you get it wrong you'll see it again sooner.


The answers to questions or the notes that you make on the work.

The evidence in this topic is all in the form of what students actually do on the app. At this point in the design there are five modules students can do to demonstrate their learning:

  • Flash cards. This follows the Leitner System model and is built into the app. If students get questions correct the card progresses into the next pile and wont be seen for awhile. If they get it wrong the card is demoted and they will see it again soon. This forces spaced repetition.
  • Video notes. Students are required to make a set of notes based upon a video. These notes can then be shared with others students who can leave feedback and formatively feedback to the student.
  • Phet Simulations and Experiments. These two units are experimental in nature, with the phet sims being simulated experiments and the experiments being physical. In both case students are required to predict an outcome, and then do the experiment and answer questions after. Students can then feedback on others answers and ask other students to give the feedback on theirs.
  • Working. This allows students to work through some solved problems and asks them questions about what they have done or what they are reading. Again, students can then feedback on others answers and ask other students to give the feedback on theirs.

Stage 3- Learning Plan

Time Frame

Learning Events

Progress Monitoring

Each Lesson

Every lesson is the same for this unit, with only the first lesson perhaps needing modification to get students familiar with the system if they are not already.


All this requires is organisation. Get students to raise their hands to see where they are in the topic and organise your tables accordingly. Students are organised this way so they are always with people working on the same topic as they are. The exceptions here are students who are way ahead (which is fine, they can be lonely and challenge themselves) or students who are behind, who you might want to work with more closely.

During Lesson

Check in with tables throughout the lessons to answer any questions the groups might have. Use the peer assessment buttons the site to see the quality of the work students are submitting this and use it to target students who might be struggling.

End of lesson

Perhaps get students to reflect on how they are doing in comparison to their timeline, or have them think about what they need to do next lesson to get where they are aiming to be.

Monitor progress through the site, and by moving around and talking to students about their learning.

Try and ensure when you talk to groups you are ensuring everyone gets it, and one student might not be getting left behind.

Resources / Materials:

  • See experiments in the site (http://20ct.sweeto.co.uk/).
  • Likely - Newton meters (up to 20N), water, beakers (range of sizes up to 1000ml), mass (range of masses from 100g to 1kg), scales, overflow beakers (with a nozzle for overflow)