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Teaching Forces. Background knowledge for teachers. NEWTON’S LAWS OF MOTION. 1. An object will stay at rest, or move at a constant speed, unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

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teaching forces

Teaching Forces

Background knowledge for teachers

newton s laws of motion

1. An object will stay at rest, or move at a constant speed, unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

2. The acceleration of an object acted upon by an unbalanced force is directly proportional to the magnitude of the force and inversely proportional to its mass.

3. To every action force there is an equal and opposite reaction force.

Newton’s laws can confuse learners. The following slide provides simple explanations of Newton’s Laws of Motion.

At primary it is good for children to experience and discuss the effects of forces.

a ll c omplicated f orces e xplained
All Complicated Forces Explained

1. Balanced forces cause objects to stay at rest or travel at a constant speed.

A bullet travelling through space just keeps

on going.

2. Unbalanced Forces cause objects to speed up or slow down.

I’d rather push a Mini than a 4X4!

3. To every Action Force there is an equal and opposite Reaction Force.

If you shove me I’ll shove you back

(at the same time)!

elicit their ideas
Elicit their ideas
  • Get learners to discuss what they think prior to investigating
  • Use interesting, engaging activities to get them thinking/wondering
  • Find out any misconceptions
  • All of the above are important before learners can new construct new meaning
common pupil myth
Common Pupil Myth

An object which does not move has no forces acting on it.

balanced forces
Balanced Forces
  • Are there any forces acting on this cup?
hang about
Hang About!

Try strings and arrows!

Which forces are acting on

This object?

With a difficult concept such as upthrust

from a table it can be useful to get learners

to think about examples they can visualise

e.g. a nail pushing up on a string, water pushing up on a boat.

types of forces
Types of Forces

Different types of forces should be explored with learners. They need hands on opportunities to experience and investigate these and think about and discuss their ideas about everyday examples.

  • Pushing Forces
  • Pulling Forces
  • Friction
  • A few ideas for getting them talking, thinking and helping them to construct new meanings.

Lava Lamp

Dancing Raisins

Water Density


Therefore, the Moon can’t have Gravity because it doesn’t have an atmosphere.

Learners commonly have misconceptions

about gravity e.g. The Earth has gravity

because it has an atmosphere.

challenging learners ideas about gravity
Challenging learners’ ideas about gravity
  • Ask learner’s to draw forces diagrams which show where gravity is pulling when people are at different locations on Earth
  • Use tennis balls that look the same but one is injected with water to explore Galileo’s theory
  • Watch videos of astronauts on the moon and discuss how and why gravity is weaker on the moon
fun with gravity
Fun with Gravity
  • Galileo
  • Astro-Blaster
  • Centre of Gravity
friction possible activities
Friction – possible activities
  • O-Wings
  • Gripping Rice!
  • Potato Spears
great resources
Great Resources
  • www.abc.net.au/science/surfingscientist/
  • www.planet-science.com/
  • Little Book of Experiments
  • www.planet-science.com/experiment/