Thinking about actions to take: Non-Contact Forces
Teaching Guidance for 11-14
There's a good chance you could improve your teaching if you were to:
- Giving real experiences of forces acting at a distance
- Exploiting the tangible effects of magnets in regions of space around the magnet
- Keeping magnetic, electric and gravity forces and their effects separate
- Exploiting similarities of behaviour between the forces
- Sharing some of the struggles that clever people had with action-at-a-distance in the past
- Dealing with mass and the force of gravity acting on an object by sharing the reasons for caring about the difference
- Discussing the assumed universality of these forces, and sharing some of the evidence for that
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.
- Treating action-at-a-distance as obviously acceptable
- Acting as if the similarities between the three non-contact forces always have been obvious
- Over-emphasising the similarities
- Conflating the terminology and representations for the three different forces
These difficulties are distilled from: the research findings; the practice of well-connected teachers with expertise; issues intrinsic to representing the physics well.