Forces and Motion

Selecting and developing activities for exploring motion

Classroom Activity for 5-11 Supporting Physics Teaching

Suggestions for activities to aid the teaching of 'exploring motion' based on the Physics Narrative and the Teaching Guidance.

Ideas to emphasise here

  • Choosing a point of view
  • Focusing on increasing separation between the point of view and the object whose speed your measuring
  • Show that finding a speed is not simple and straightforward
  • Explicitly identifying the distance covered, and the length of time taken in order to figure out a speed
  • Distinguish between spinning on an axis and orbiting another object

Teacher Tip: Work through the Physics Narrative to find these lines of thinking worked out and then look in the Classroom Activities for some examples of activities.

Strategies for supporting learning

  • Introduce the idea that relative motion is the only motion, without causing indigestion
  • Differentiate the ways in which 'time' is used
  • Telling stories about journeys, relating what's observed to the record that is made
  • Taking care about the use of arrows – for representing force, direction, and velocity or speed
  • Sequencing the ideas carefully, drawing together the threads about force with the thread about changes in movement

Teacher Tip: These are all related to findings about children's ideas from research. The teaching activities will provide some suggestions. So will colleagues, near and far.

Avoid these

  • Defining speed without relating it to increasing separation
  • Getting bogged down in units – e.g. mph, kilometres per hour, furlongs per fortnight

Teacher Tip: These difficulties are distilled from: the research findings; the practice of well-connected teachers with expertise; issues intrinsic to representing the physics well.

appears in the relation SUVAT Equations
can be represented by Motion Graphs
has the special case Wave Speed
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