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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds RACHEL JACKSON: This week, we will be looking at forces, thinking about what children need to know, any misconceptions that they may have, and how we can support correct understanding. We’ll consider what we already know and how we can extend this knowledge as well. So we know what children will go on to learn in secondary school. The first thing to consider is what are forces? Which is actually a very tricky question to answer, as we can’t see forces. We can however observe the effects of forces upon objects. There are two types of forces, contact and non-contact forces. Contact forces are the result of two things coming into contact with each other. And these include friction, air resistance, and water resistance.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 second Gravity and magnetism are both non-contact forces, which means that they act at a distance. Forces that are acting on everything all of the time. Anything that stops, starts, changes direction, or speeds up, slows down, or even is stationary has forces acting upon it. Children experience the effects of forces all the time, whether walking on a windy day and nearly getting blown over, playing ball games, scooting, or when on swings, see-saws, and roundabouts in the park.

What are forces?

Answering the question ‘What are forces?’ is actually a very tricky, as we can’t see forces. We can, however, observe the effects of forces upon objects.

There are two types of forces, contact and non-contact forces. Contact forces are the result of two things coming into contact with each other; these include friction, air resistance and water resistance. Gravity and magnetism are both non-contact forces, which act at a distance.

Forces are acting on everything, all of the time. Anything that stops, starts, changes direction or speeds up, slows down or is stationary has forces acting upon it. Children experience the effects of forces all the time whether walking on a windy day and nearly getting blown over, playing ball games, scooting or when on swings, seesaws and roundabouts in the park.

In the video, Rachel describes how primary children can represent the forces acting on an object by adding arrows to a picture to show the direction that each force is acting in.

Annotate

Take a sheet of A4 paper and make a paper plane. Have a go at throwing it, then draw a diagram and label the forces acting upon the plane in flight. You don’t need to share this, just refer back to it in the next step.

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This video is from the free online course:

Teaching Primary Science: Physics

National STEM Learning Centre