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Newton’s Laws of Motion

See how we approach teaching Newton's Laws of motion using astronomy as the context.

Newton’s Laws of Motion are a fundamental set of laws that help us understand the action of forces and why things move in the way they do.

  • Newton’s First Law of Motion tell us that an object will carry on at the same speed and in the same direction (at the same velocity), unless a force acts upon it.
  • Newton’s Second Law of Motion states that when a force is exerted on any mass, that force will cause the mass to accelerate. The force applied is proportional to the acceleration, so if you double the force, the acceleration is also doubled.
  • Newton’s Third Law of Motion describes how when a force from one object is exerted on another, an equal (in size) and opposite (in direction) force acts back on the original object.


  • Mass – the amount of matter in an object, measured in kg.
  • Force – action which changes an object’s motion, size or shape.
  • Speed – rate of change of distance with respect to time.
  • Velocity – rate of change of distance with respect to time in a certain direction.
  • Acceleration – rate of change of velocity with respect to time.

Watch the video above to see how we introduce and teach Newton’s Laws of Motion, using the context of astronomy.

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Physics, Astronomy, and Space: Teaching Secondary Science

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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