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 | Electricity and Magnetism

Cardboard arrows

Classroom Activity for 5-11 11-14

What the Activity is for

The purpose of this activity is to help children to identify forces and give them a language to describe forces. Exploring pupil's ideas – and making them explicit – is a central feature of this introductory work.

What to Prepare

A circus of stations where forces can be identified, adapted to your own circumstances, for example:

  • a cup on a 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

Some force arrows:

  • enough force arrows, cut from sturdy card, to give several per group (see below)

Safety note: Be aware of the hazards of slipping and tripping. Don't use anything heavy enough to cause injury if it falls. Stretched out springs may cause injury if they fly back.

What Happens During this Activity

Pupils are invited to visit the circus stations in groups of three or four. They have to use their arrows to identify where there are forces acting and to explain to others in their group:

  • What exerts the force?
  • What kind of force is acting?
  • What is the force is acting on?
  • Where shall we place the arrows to show the force?

Paying attention to the interactions of the children will allow you to monitor the thinking which is going down a Wrong Track and to identify correct ideas to reinforce at a later stage, perhaps during a whole class discussion about each station.

You are likely to find opportunities to guide children on the exact positions of the force arrows and to encourage children to articulate the language of forces:

Teacher: Well done Martin, there is a force acting on the shoe in this direction. What is the name of this force?

Martin: err…friction, no, wait a minute…grip

Teacher: Good…now what's exerting the force?

As a spin-off from this activity you might be able to revisit each station to consider any sets of forces which seem to add to a resultant of zero. (Most stations are likely to be in equilibrium).

Resources

Download a copy of the force arrows to use with this activity.

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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, Looking through forces spectacles: Where are the forces?, which explains the task, gives an example and then offers children a framework for their own work (see below)

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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