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  • Are you looking for ways to teach forces? If you’re new to the Science Learning Hub, you may want to start with our introductory video on teaching physics.

    Alternatively, use the links below to explore the Science Learning Hub resources for primary teachers related to forces in the Physical World strand of the New Zealand Curriculum.

    Topic: Flight

    Flight explores the physics fundamentals of gravity, lift, drag and thrust – using birds and planes as the context

    Investigating flight – an introductory article with links to media, articles and student activities

    How birds fly – Article

    Principles of flight – Article

    Forces affecting flight – Image

    Wing aspect ratio – Article

    Wing loading – Article

    Wings and lift – Article

    Gliders and kites – Article

    Aerofoils and paper planes – Activity

    Kites – Activity

    Making a glider – Activity

    Observing wings for flight – Activity

    Wings for flight – Interactive

    Topic: Rockets

    Rocket design is all about finding an optimal balance between thrust, mass and aerodynamics.

    Unit plan: Rockets teaching sequence

    Investigating rockets – an introductory article with links to media, articles and student activities

    Lift-off – Article

    Rocket aerodynamics – Article

    Rockets and mass – Article

    Rockets and thrust – Article

    Calculating rocket acceleration – Article

    Getting rockets into space – Article

    Balloon car challenge – Activity

    Effervescent canister rockets – Activity

    Rocket launch challenge – Activity

    Rocket launch challenge – Interactive

    Water bottle rockets – Activity

    Skateboard forces – Image

    Topic: Satellites

    The science ideas that allow satellites to remain in orbit are principally ones of gravitational forces and circular motion.

    Investigating satellites – an introductory article with links to media, articles and student activities

    Gravity and satellite motion – Article

    Launching satellites – Article

    Alternative conceptions about gravity – Article

    I’m looking at how we can reduce pressure drag with different position and using different types of helmets and also reduce the skin friction drag by using different skinsuits.

    Lindsay Underwood

    Topic: Cycling aerodynamics

    Our collection of resources on cycling aerodynamics is a great opportunity to look at forces and speed in relation to cycling and think about how these might be measured and how one affects the other.

    Cycling Aerodynamics – an introductory article with links to media, articles and student activities

    Causes of aerodynamic drag – Article

    Forces and speed – Article

    Faster bikes – Article

    Individual pursuit graphs – Activity

    Investigating airflow over shapes – Activity

    On your bikes – Activity

    An aerodynamic bike – Image

    Forces on a tyre – Image

    Aerodynamics and drag – Video

    Testing aerodynamics of elite cyclists – Video

    The wind tunnel – Video

    What is rolling resistance? – Video

    Sports and physics quiz – Activity

    Topic: Sporting edge

    Muscles can only contract and then relax – they can never push. So for every body movement there are muscles that contract to make the bones move and others that contract to pull the bones back to their original position.

    Measuring the power output of elite athletes – Activity

    Sports and physics quiz – Activity

    Science concepts

    Another way to explore the physical work is by exploring some of the key science concepts. Check out the resources curated regarding Newton's laws.

    Teacher ideas and professional learning development

    In these videos, teacher Sinead Senek explains how her students learned about forces through hands-on experiences and Hub resources.

    Learning about rockets – Video

    Thinking and talking like scientists – Video

    The Science Learning Hub has a range of recorded webinars to support you with your physics teaching. Have a look at Physics made simple – force and motion, gravity, waves and Exploring magnetism.

    The gravity well – a physics analogy explains how to construct and use the gravity well demonstrated in the Physics made simple – gravity webinar. It includes an interactive with conceptual simulations that can be demonstrated on a gravity well and links to related Hub content.


    We these collections below are ready to use and customise as you want.

    Login to make one or more of these collections one of your private collection – just click on the copy icon. You can then add additional content, notes, make other changes and collaborate with other. Registering an account for the Science Learning Hubs is easy and free – sign up with your email address or Google account. Look for the Sign in button at the top of each page.

      Published 7 July 2015, Updated 21 August 2021 Referencing Hub articles
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