Forces and Motion | Electricity and Magnetism

Getting a feeling for a one newton force

Classroom Activity for 5-11 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

To help children describe the world by acquiring a feeling for what a one newton slip force feels like.

What to Prepare

  • one newton force apparatus ( a 100 g apple, hidden in a box, that can be raised or lowered by string running over a pulley)
  • A cardboard force arrow, labelled 1 newton, attached ot the end of the string

What Happens During this Activity

You might rather lightly introduce the idea that the length of the force arrows is measured in newtons (depending on whether you've used this measure before), and use an everyday example so that children get a feel for the size of a one newton slip force. It happens that about half a cup full of tea, pushed across a desk, results in a slip force of about one newton. You might also have something suitably heavy in the classroom that pulling it across the floor results in a slip force of 10 newton – you'll need to try this out to find something.

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