8-10 yrs old

Computer Science


Students use code to clone 4 lab stations to model their understanding of balanced and unbalanced forces.

avatar Submitted By: John Miller

October 29, 2018

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  • Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking

Supporting Files

World File

World file for student use

Lesson Plan

Lesson plan in Word format

Learning Objectives

  • Students will understand how to use the clone command
  • Students will conduct an investigation that provides evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object (NGSS 3-PS2-1)

Guiding Ideas

  • The clone command clones (copies) a cubic region to another location.
  • Objects at rest remain at rest if the forces acting upon it are balanced.
  • Objects not at rest are said to have unbalanced force(s) acting upon them.

Student Activities

This activity can be completed by individual students, or by students working in pairs.

Students will use the clone command to create 4 copies of a minecart and rail research laboratory to explore balanced and unbalanced forces.

At the spawn point students will see the laboratory set-up in front of them and will be able to interview Dr. Force. When students have a clear understanding of expectations, they will use the clone command as described below to create 4 more stations.

Create an on chat command and call it “clone”

Drag a clone from command (found under “Blocks”) and place it within the on chat block.

Students will find a hole located about 11 blocks to the left of spawn. They should hop into the hole before running the command described below.

  • clone from ~0 ~0 ~0
  • to ~22 ~4 ~-4
  • into ~0 ~0 ~10
  • mask [replace]
  • mode [normal]

When the on chat command named “clone” is run, it will copy the track set-up and place it 10 blocks in front of the hole they are standing in. For your reference, from is the student’s relative location in three dimensions, to creates a cuboid 22 blocks to their right, 4 blocks up, and 4 blocks forward. Into pastes the captured cuboid 10 blocks in front of their relative position.

Have students move forward and in to the next hole before repeating their command. They need to run this command until they have created 4 stations. An NPC located next to each station reminds students what to do.

Demonstrating Forces

Stationary and moving minecarts will be used to demonstrate the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces acting upon each other in the manner described below.

Station 1 (at spawn) – Students place a minecart from their inventory on the center of the track (indicated by a sand block). Balanced forces are acting on the minecart and it does not move. Ask students to stand on the red sandstone block and take a photo with a caption to demonstrate their understanding.

Station 2 – Students place one minecart in the center of the track and another at either end of the set-up. Students then return to the red sandstone block and place a redstone torch in front of them, in the gap between the redstone “wiring”. This activates the cart at the end and it will collide with the stationary minecart demonstrating an unbalanced force acting on a balanced force.

Station 3 – Same set-up as in number 2, but place a minecart at each end of the set-up. Place the redstone torch and the minecarts will collide and “bounce” off each other to demonstrate two (equal) unbalanced forces acting upon each other.

Station 4 – Students place two minecarts at one end and a single cart on the other and repeat the action to demonstrate two (unequal) unbalanced forces acting upon each other.

Station 5 – Have students predict what will happen if two carts on each side collide with each other before running the demonstration.

Performance Expectations

Students will demonstrate their understanding of how to copy and paste blocks using the clone command by creating 4 cloned lab stations.

Students will explain how balanced and unbalanced forces act upon each other using 5 different models as evidence.

Students should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What happens when a balanced force meets an unbalanced force?
  • Can you explain what happened when 2 carts ran into 1 cart?
  • Can you explain why your prediction was correct/incorrect?


  • Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking

External References

Supporting Files

World File

World file for student use

Lesson Plan

Lesson plan in Word format

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