Teaching Guidance for 11-14
Action without contact
Wrong Track: How can the Earth pull on a ball to make it fall? It's not even touching it!
Right Lines: Some forces can act on objects without touching them. Gravity is one example of these non-contact forces.
Thinking about the learning
If a pupil made this kind of statement, you might think that they were starting to go along the Right Lines with their thinking by questioning the very essence of the gravitational force. Gravitational, magnetic and electric effects happen at a distance.
Thinking about the teaching
Emphasise that non-contact forces are special. If pupils think that the action-at-a-distance effects of gravity are obvious, they are missing the point. Action at a distance is a very strange phenomenon indeed!
As a teacher you are not expected to offer any explanations about the origins of gravity. We can say, however, that we have sufficient knowledge about how gravity works to get people to the Moon and back. A fantastic achievement.