Unit Planner: Forces and Newton's laws

Unit 3: Forces

Start date:

End date:

Diploma assessment

When will the content be assessed?

Paper 1 x
Paper 2 x
Paper 3 x
Investigation x

Text book reference

Hamper 52 - 72

Inquiry: Establishing the purpose of the unit

Transfer Goals
List here one to three big, overarching, long-term goals for this unit. Transfer goals are the major goals that ask students to “transfer”, or apply, their knowledge, skills, and concepts at the end of the unit under new/different circumstances, and on their own without scaffolding from the teacher.

  • Bodies don't accelerate unless pushed
  • We use laws to solve problems and make predictions

List here the key content that students will know by the end of the unit

  • Define force as a push or a pull.
  • Types of force, Tension, weight, Normal, Friction, Air resistance and upthrust.
  • Pressure = Force/Area
  • Define momentum and impulse
  • Newton's 1st
  • Newton's 2nd
  • Newton's 3rd
  • derive F = ma

List here the key skills that students will develop by the end of the unit.

  • Drawing free body diagrams
  • Identifying forces
  • Finding components of a force
  • Resolving vectors
  • Measuring force
  • Solving problems related to Newton's laws
  • Finding the are under a F vs t graph
  • Use of a force sensor
  • Vectors in Algodoo
  • Modeling vectors in GeoGebra

List here the key concepts that students will understand by the end of the unit

  • Weight is related to mass
  • Friction is between surfaces
  • Normal force is when surfaces are in contact
  • Buoyancy is when a body is immersed in a fluid
  • If forces are balanced a body is at rest or moving with constant velocity
  • Inertia is the unwillingness to move
  • Rate of change in momentum is related to Unbalanced force
  • Newton's 3rd is about 2 bodies
  • Area under F vs t graph gives impulse

Examples of real world practical applications of knowledge.

  • Bodies hanging on strings
  • Floating box on a table
  • Inclined plane
  • Accelerating cars
  • Alice in the lift
  • Masses and pulleys
  • Colliding balls
  • Water jet
  • Jet engine
  • Rocket engine
  • Recoil
  • Filling truck with sand
  • Bungee jump

Action: teaching and learning through Inquiry

Approaches to teaching
Tick boxes to indicate pedagogical approaches used.

Simulation x
Small group work (pairs) x
Hands on practical x
Video x
Student centred inquiry x

Examples of how TOK can be introduced in this unit

  • The difficulty of defining force.
  • Why are there so few types of force?
  • The meaning of the word displaced in Archimedes principle.
  • The use of laws in Physics
  • How we quote a law to give a convincing argument.
  • Do other subjects have laws?
  • Difference between a Physics law and a "legal law".
  • Why only 3 laws? Simple is best.
  • How we define units to make equations simple.
  • The difference between a Law and a rule.
  • How the principle of conservation of momentum gives a short cut to using the 3 Laws.
  • How conservation principles seem to be the basis of a lot of physical models. What is conserved and what isn't?
  • How every action has an equal and opposite reaction leads to some common misconceptions.

Examples of how NOS can be introduced in this unit.

  • Archimedes and his Eureka moment.
  • We can solve problems with 3 dimensional bodies by considering the forces to act at their centre.
  • All this stuff about Laws is also very much NOS (Understanding of science).
  • The way we make predictions (solve problems) based on a set of laws.
  • Occam's Razor.
  • How the conservation of momentum can be derived from Newton's laws.

Video clips, simulations demonstrations etc.


What went well
List the portions of the unit (content, assessment, planning) that were successful

What didn’t work well
List the portions of the unit (content, assessment, planning) that were not as successful as hoped

List any notes, suggestions, or considerations for the future teaching of this unit.

All materials on this website are for the exclusive use of teachers and students at subscribing schools for the period of their subscription. Any unauthorised copying or posting of materials on other websites is an infringement of our copyright and could result in your account being blocked and legal action being taken against you.