Forces and Motion

Episode 208: Preparation for drag forces

Teaching Guidance for 16-19 IOP TAP

There is much opportunity for student investigation in this area.

You will also need to consider the depth of treatment you want to give the subject – whether or not your students will respond to a quantitative approach or if a qualitative appreciation of the ideas is sufficient.

Main aims of this topic

Drag forces

Students will:

  • recognise and understand the terms up thrust, drag, lift, air resistance and terminal velocity
  • understand that at terminal velocity the net force on the moving body is zero
  • be able to explain the acceleration of a body up to terminal velocity in terms of the forces acting on the body

Prior knowledge

Students may have previously studied projectile motion, in which the effects of air resistance are ignored.

Where this leads

This topic has been considered without adopting a quantitative approach. Many of the ideas could be revisited in numerical problems once Newton’s second law of motion has been covered.

features in Stokes' Law
is a special case of Force
is used in analyses relating to Terminal Velocity
Limit Less Campaign

Support our manifesto for change

The IOP wants to support young people to fulfil their potential by doing physics. Please sign the manifesto today so that we can show our politicians there is widespread support for improving equity and inclusion across the education sector.

Sign today