Forces and Motion

Thinking about actions to take: Forces - a New Way of Seeing

Teaching Guidance for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

There's a good chance you could improve your teaching if you were to:

Try these

  • Building explicit connections between the actions of animate and inanimate environments on an object
  • Being consistent in the drawing of force arrows
  • Giving children a variety of representations to hand when asking for descriptions
  • Arranging it so that the placing of arrows is provisional and open to debate
  • Focusing on the physical reasons for expecting a force to be acting – e.g. the bombardment by particles
  • Acting as if Newton's first law really is hard to believe
  • Speaking, acting and drawing with exemplary precision, so children can apprentice their practice on yours
  • Using a rich variety of examples

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.

Avoid these

  • Relying too much on precise words by themselves
  • Acting as if the placing of arrows is obvious and open to a simple inspection
  • Referring to forces cancelling out
  • Using complex objects on which forces might be acting (with internally moving parts – bicycles, cars, people.)

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.

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