Teaching Forces - Education Scotland
Transcript Teaching Forces - Education Scotland
Background knowledge for
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
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.
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
2. Unbalanced Forces cause objects to speed up or
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
• Get learners to discuss what they think prior to
• Use interesting, engaging activities to get them
• Find out any misconceptions
• All of the above are important before learners can new
construct new meaning
Common pupil myth
An object which does not move has no
forces acting on it.
• Are there any forces acting on this cup?
Try strings and arrows!
Which forces are acting on
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
• Pushing Forces
• Pulling Forces
Different types of forces
should be explored with
hands on opportunities
investigate these and
think about and discuss
• A few ideas for getting them talking, thinking and
helping them to construct new meanings.
Learners commonly have misconceptions
about gravity e.g. The Earth has gravity
because it has an atmosphere.
Therefore, the Moon can’t have
because it doesn’t have an atmosphere.
Challenging learners’ ideas
• 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
Fun with gravity
• Centre of Gravity
Friction – possible activities
• Gripping Rice!
• Potato Spears
Air resistance – possible activities
The Surfing Scientist
Planet Science Experiments
Little Book of Experiments
(downloadable version requires STEM Learning account to access)