Force
Forces and Motion

Forces - a new way of seeing - Teaching approaches

Classroom Activity for 11-14

A Teaching Approach is both a source of advice and an activity that respects both the physics narrative and the teaching and learning issues for a topic.

The following set of resources is not an exhaustive selection, rather it seeks to exemplify. In general there are already many activities available online; you'll want to select from these wisely, and to assemble and evolve your own repertoire that is matched to the needs of your class and the equipment/resources to hand. We hope that the collection here will enable you to think about your own selection process, considering both the physics narrative and the topic-specific teaching and learning issues.

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Discussion questions

Force
Forces and Motion

Discussion questions: forces

Diagnostic Questions for 11-14

What the Activity is for

The purpose of this activity is to get pupils thinking and talking about forces.

What to Prepare

  • Copies of the diagnostic questions (see below)

What Happens During this Activity

The questions are probably best tackled in groups with a report back to the whole class. The discussion is probably more important than the answers, at this stage, but you can find discussions of all of the situations in the Physics Narrative, episodes 02 and 03.

Resources

Download the support sheet / student worksheet for this activity.

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Discussion about instances

Force Arrows
Forces and Motion

Discussion about instances

Classroom Activity for 11-14

What the Activity is for

The purpose of this activity is to get pupils thinking and talking about where, and on what, forces might act in some everyday situations.

What to Prepare

Copies of these images:

What Happens During this Activity

Groups of three working around a screen are best. You could, of course, just print out the completed instances.

Faster groups, or those revisiting the topic for revision, could be invited to make up their own examples.

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Cardboard arrows

Force
Forces and Motion

Cardboard arrows

Classroom Activity for 11-14

What the Activity is for

This activity is for introducing free-body force diagrams and to help students develop their vocabulary for describing forces.

What to Prepare

Download a set of colour-safe cardboard arrows (below) and print and cut out enough so that each pair of students has a set. You will also need to choose some objects in everyday situations to draw force diagrams for. Search online or prepare props to illustrate each. Three examples are shown below:

Some everyday situations.

Procedure

  1. Write the following description framework on the board: “The ___________ arrow represents the _______________ force that acts on the ____________ due to the _____________”
  2.  Show a photo or demonstrate one situation (you could start with a drinks can sitting on a table).
  3.  For each situation ask students to:
  • Identify the object and draw it by itself
  •  Use same-sized arrows if two forces are the same size
  •  Point each arrow in the direction of the force
  •  Stick the base of each arrow to the place where the force acts (it's okay for their arrows to overlap)
  •  Use the description framework to discuss what each arrow represents with their partner

As students build force diagrams, circulate and use questioning to encourage them to explain and progress their thinking (eg: What force does that arrow represent? What causes it? Where does it act?)

For the three examples above, the force diagrams may look like:

Cardboard arrow force diagrams

Extension

This activity can also be a useful introduction to Newton’s third law. Ask students to draw diagrams of the other object involved in the interaction (e.g. Earth) and use the same colour of arrow for matching force pairs (e.g. green arrows for the gravitational force on both Earth and the football). Using the description framework will help students see that if there is a force on object A due to B, there is an equal and opposite force on B due to A.

 

Resources

Colour-safe force arrows

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Looking through forces spectacles

Force
Forces and Motion | Electricity and Magnetism

Looking through forces spectacles - an activity

Classroom Activity for 5-11 11-14

What the Activity is for

Helping students to see the world in a new way.

The purpose of this activity is for children to make simplified drawings of each of the stations in the circus and to draw in the forces acting on the different objects.

What to Prepare

A set of stations to show forces in action. For example:

  • a cup on the table
  • a mass hanging on a string
  • a floating block
  • a shoe on a slope
  • some foam under a heavy book
  • a stretched spring
  • something leaning against the wall
  • something on a weighing machine

For this activity you might use the same circus of stations as for the Cardboard Arrows activity.

  • starter sheet, Where are the forces?, which explains the task, gives an example and then offers children a framework for their own work.

    download the pdf to use

What Happens During this Activity

Pupils might be taken through the first example as a whole class. The main point to make being that the modelling process is aimed at producing a simplified sketch of the real situation at each station. The skill is to observe, think and then draw. Forces can be added as a last stage.

Resources

Download the support sheet / student worksheet for this activity.

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Forces spectacles II: the sequel!

Force
Forces and Motion

Forces spectacles II: the sequel!

Classroom Activity for 11-14

What the Activity is for

This activity allows pupils to investigate some more complex real life situations and to consider the forces acting, by annotating diagrams.

What to Prepare

  • an adaptable diagram

Prepare your own with fixed arrows, by selecting an image, and arranging it so that arrows can be drawn on the image, so:

You could do this either by drawing over a phtograph, or by using cardboard arrows, or using software that allows arrows of defined length, colour and direction to be placed over an image.

What Happens During this Activity

These photographs might best be displayed on a screen, perhaps an interactive white board. Alternatively the still photos can be copied and laminated. Then lead a discussion that focuses on a single object at a time, seeing it through the forces spectacles. This will lead to a useful model of that object, producing a force-led description of the object.

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