Newton's Third Law
Forces and Motion

Things you'll need to decide on as you plan: force pairs

Teaching Guidance for 14-16 Supporting Physics Teaching

Bringing together two sets of constraints

Focusing on the learners:

Distinguishing–eliciting–connecting. How will you:

  • respect the understanding about force and motion already achieved
  • develop the current understanding of forcing motion, without undermining it

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.

Focusing on the physics:

Representing–noticing–recording. How will you:

  • state and represent Newton's third law
  • clearly present the task that the third law fulfils
  • simplify situations, to get back to a single object acted on by a resultant force

Teacher Tip: Connecting what is experienced with what is written and drawn is essential to making sense of the connections between the theoretical world of physics and the lived-in world of the children. Don't forget to exemplify this action.

Newton's Third Law
is used in analyses relating to Collisions

Disable node explorer


Have a Physics Teaching Question?

Want to ask it in a safe, friendly, knowledgeable environment? TalkPhysics is an online community for anyone involved in the teaching of pre-19 physics.

Visit TalkPhysics