Forces and Motion

Formative questions

Classroom Activity for 14-16 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

Select some questions that can be used to explore students' understandings of these rather difficult ideas. Because the shift from the idea that force causes motion to force causes a change in motion is hard, it's worth selecting questions that promote discussion of this very particular point.

There are many questions available on this topic, and in a variety of formats, from discussion about instances, through predict, observe, explain, to multiple choice in two and three step formats (first step – answer; second step – reason; third step – confidence). Many have been developed from research projects, and extensively trialled.

The questions should be selected to help learning, so for their formative value, rather than to make summative judgements.

What to Prepare

  • printed copies of the questions

What Happens During this Activity

Students might be set some preparatory work, but the essence is to get a discussion going, and so allow space to fully explore the ideas. You'll need to create an environment where it's acceptable to make mistakes and engage in exploratory talk in order to ensure that they have got a grip on the ideas, and that you have the chance to find out where they are still uncertain.

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