Forces and Motion

Selecting and developing activities for exploring motion

Classroom Activity for 5-11 Supporting Physics Teaching

Teacher Tip: Based on the Physics Narrative and the Teaching and Learning Issues

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 Teaching Approaches for some examples of activities.

Strategies for supporting learning

  • introduced 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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