Forces and Motion | Energy and Thermal Physics

Exploiting the idea that something is given when a force acts

Physics Narrative for 14-16 Supporting Physics Teaching

Forces are not given, but something might be

This idea that something is given to an object when you push or pull on it and affect its motion is common. This is often said by people to be giving the object force. That's not true (see the SPT: Forces topic for more details), but some have argued that the possibility of building on this intuition is a good reason to teach about momentum before teaching about force. That's a possible line of development, and worth working out in detail if you decide to go down that route. But it's not the approach developed through the SPT materials, as you'd have to make major systematic changes to teaching order to incorporate the change.

Here, however, it's probably worth bringing this to students' attention, explicitly sharing this intuition, so enabling them to link what's likely to be a persistent intuition to more formal studies of motion.


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