Force Diagrams

Force Diagrams
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Intro to Forces Lesson Plans

Introduction to Forces

By Oliver Smith

Forces are pushes and pulls that govern everything in the universe. They can cause things to move, speed up, slow down, change direction, or even change the shape of things. From the largest gravitational forces that hold our universe together, to the forces that keep the smallest particles in atoms together, scientists have spent millennia trying to understand forces. The following activities will help students grasp force and motion so they can better understand the world around them.




Introduction to Forces

Storyboard Description

Force Diagrams | Help students understand force with examples!

Storyboard Text

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  • A rocket accelerating upwards
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  • Thrust
  • A boat floating in the water
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  • Upthrust
  • At the bottom of a bungee jump where the person is stationary
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  • Force from the Bungee Cord
  • A person rappelling down the wall of a building with a rope
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  • Pull of the Rope
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  • Push from the Wall
  • Friction
  • The forces are unbalanced as the rocket is accelerating upwards. The thrust must be larger than the weight and the drag. The resultant forces have an upwards direction.
  • Image Attributions:13:13 Abseiling 3 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/schrodingers_duck/3276915554/) - schrodingersduck - License: Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)Space Shuttle 30th Anniversary (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/5613449925/) - NASA Goddard Photo and Video - License: Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)volaaaa!!! (https://www.flickr.com/photos/nettaphoto/4695923614/) - nettaphoto - License: Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)Boat (https://www.flickr.com/photos/uponnothing/4974487213/) - The Manual Photographer - License: Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)
  • Weight
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  • Drag
  • The boat is stationary, so the forces are balanced. The upthrust and the weight of the boat must be equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction.
  • Weight
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  • The person at this point is stationary, so the forces must be balanced. This means the person's weight and the force from the rope must be equal in size, but opposite in direction.
  • Weight
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  • The forces are balanced, as the person is not moving. The vertical component of the pull of the rope and the friction are equal and opposite to the person's weight. The horizontal component of the pull of the rope is equal and opposite to the push from the wall.
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  • Weight
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Image Attributions

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