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20 October 2014
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Science topics ages 6 - 7
Forces and movement

Curriculum relevance | Online lesson plan
Offline lesson plan | Worksheet | Activity

Offline lesson plan


Know that pushes and pulls are both examples of forces

Recognise that when things speed up or slow down, there is a cause

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 1, Science, Sc1 1, 2a, 2b, 2c, 2f, 2g, 2h, 2i, 2j; Sc4 2a, 2b, 2c

Wales: Key Stage 1, Physical processes, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3

Northern Ireland: Key Stage 1, Physical Processes, Forces and energy a, c

Scotland: 5-14 Guidelines, Science, Forces and their effects, Levels A, B, C

Resources required

One car per group, with string attached to the front

Small weights or different sized balls of plasticine, which can be tied to the string

Three types of material to give different amounts of friction e.g. fur, felt, shiny paper

Teaching activities

Arrange the class in a circle on the carpet with a toy car in the middle. Review the ways you can make the car move, e.g. by pushing or pulling. Explain that these are examples of forces. Tell the children that they are going to be looking at forces that can make a car speed up or slow down. Demonstrate how to make the car move by attaching a weight to the end of the string and hanging it over a drop. Tell the children that you want them to find ways to make the car go faster and slower using the equipment set out on their tables.

Divide the children into four mixed ability groups. Each group should have a car with a length of string tied to the front of it, three sizes of small weights or lumps of plasticine and three types of material. Ask each group to experiment with their equipment to discover, 1) how to use the weights to speed the car up by gravity and, 2) how to use the material to slow the car down with friction. Walk around the groups discussing what they are doing, what they have found out and what they could try next. If some groups are finding it hard, stop the whole class and ask a group who have made more progress to demonstrate what they have done.

Ask the children to write up the experiment using the titles, 1) What we wanted to find out, 2) What we did, and, 3) What happened. Give the least able children a sheet with these titles written as sentence starters, i.e. I wanted to find out how...

Ask one group to tell the class how they made their car speed up, and another to tell how they made their car slow down. Did anyone find any other ways? What forces did you use? Why did the materials make the car go more slowly? Use the terms gravity and friction and explain that these are forces just like pushes and pulls.


Ask the children to think about other ways to make the car change speed or direction, e.g. by putting up a barrier to divert it, pushing harder, putting it on a steep ramp, or putting it in sand.

Suggested homework

Ask the children to play with toys at home to find different ways of making them move, e.g. sliding a brick on a smooth surface. They can report back to the class the best place in their house for making an object move in a straight line/fast/slowly etc.


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