Many pupils are unable to apply Newton’s Second Law to examples of motion in 2D.
Pupils may particularly struggle to apply Newton's Second Law to instances of projectile motion and circular motion, or to one-dimensional motion where the speed of an object is decreasing.
Resource to Address This
Investigating Newton's second law of motion (11-16)
Source - Practical physics/ Force and motion/ Force, mass and acceleration - Newton's second law
This resource explores how a trolley experiences an acceleration when an external force is applied to it.
Also - Relationships between force, acceleration and mass. This is another activity in the same group.View Resource
The following studies have documented this misconception:
- Jones, A. T. () Investigation of Students' Understanding of Speed, Velocity and Acceleration. Research in Science Education, 13 (1),
This study aimed to identify the conceptions of speed, velocity and acceleration held by a sample of 30 students aged 11-16 in the United States.
- diSessa, A. () Unlearning Aristotelian Physics: A Study of Knowledge-Based Learning. Cognitive Science, 6 (1)