Forces and Motion

Labelling levers

Classroom Activity for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

Pupils are invited to label photographs of levers so that they can get better at finding the lines of action of the forces, the forces acting and the pivots. This analysis is essential if they are to be able to model things as levers.

What to Prepare

  • a collection of images of levers – some are provided for you: A door pushed, a spanner in use, a crow bar in use, a screwdriver, a helping hand
  • the interactive object (see below), running on a large display, or running on a number of computers so that two or three pupils can work around the computer at once

What Happens During this Activity

Work through a single, simple example with the pupils. Ask them what could be taken to be the lever and add it to the diagram. Ask them where to place the forces and how large these should be.

Ask them where the pivot is, and place this as well. Mark in the length from the pivot to the forces. Then invite them to work through some more on their own, if working with small groups around computers. Once agreed, they could print the results as a record of their thinking, or you could have a few groups come out to the front and run through their analysis on a large display.

You might extend the activity by asking pupils to bring in images or artefacts of their own to be scanned or captured by digital camera. Going on a lever hunt around the home shows just how many objects are designed using this simple principle and provides a nice way of linking the outside world with their learning in physics.


Download the software for this activity.

can be analysed using Torque Moments
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