Forces and Motion | Earth and Space

Not just falling objects

Teaching Guidance for 5-11 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

Gravity acts between all objects

Wrong Track: If the book falls off the table, it's because of gravity pulling it. If the book is on the table, it's just sitting there, gravity doesn't come into it.

Right Lines: Gravity is a universal force that acts between all objects with mass in the universe. An object does not need to be falling to be under the influence of gravity. If you are asleep in bed you are being pulled down onto the bed by the Earth's gravitational force. The bed springs push back up on you and you stay in your sleeping position.

Gravity is always acting

Thinking about the learning

Some pupils only associate gravity with situations where something is falling.

Thinking about the teaching

It is worth considering a range of objects in a whole variety of situations and asking whether or not gravity is acting on them. The answer is always yes.

For example, try water at the top of a waterfall compared with water in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall.

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