Forces - part 1

In infant classes and in junior classes children will develop an understanding of forces and their effects through practical experiences, which will involve pushing and pulling, floating and sinking. Structured play will develop children’s understanding that moving toys involves a push or a pull. They will also investigate how a force (a push or a pull) can make an object move faster, slow down a moving object, make it stop or change its direction.

Slowing down a moving object will involve the children in activities that explore friction as a force. They will establish that by increasing friction they can slow down moving objects. Reducing friction enables moving objects to move faster and further before stopping. In the middle and senior classes pupils will investigate devices such as brakes that use friction to work. At first they will investigate friction that involves solid surfaces. Later they will become aware that friction exists between a moving solid and a liquid (a boat and the water in which it is moving) and between a solid and a gas (air resistance).

A feature of the work in both the middle and senior classes is that pupils will investigate falling objects. They will discover that objects fall because of the force of gravity. They will measure force by constructing their own spring balances. By the end of sixth class some children may recognise that the amount of pull or force is measured in newtons.