Forces: Classroom presentation

In today's lesson...

We're going to investigate forces and the effect that they have on objects and the human body.

We'll develop our investigative skills and gather evidence through doing things, taking note of what happens. We'll learn all about air resistance and how it acts to slow objects (and people!) down. It might be surprising, but the aim of this investigation will be to slow yourself down using all that you have learnt about air resistance.

Elinor and Jody feel the force

Forces are important to cyclists like Elinor Barker and Jody Cundy, as overcoming air resistance can mean the difference between a bronze and a gold medal. In this short film, they investigate forces at the National Cycling Centre.

How to do the Forces Investigation

This short film gives a step by step guide to conducting the Forces investigation. It is designed to be used alongside the activity sheet found with our teaching resources.

Explore air resistance

Find out more about air resistance. Click on the image below and then explore the labels to find out more.

Putting air resistance to the test

Your teacher will split you into groups for the investigation.

What you will do today:

  • Go outside and run a timed 50 metre run as a baseline measurement. Remember to run your fastest!

  • Come inside and plan your race outfit, which will use air resistance to slow you down.

  • Use the various materials you have chosen to make your outfit.

  • Go back outside and time your 50 metre runs again. Run your fastest again - no cheating!

Discuss the results

How do forces affect my speed?

  • Has the investigation given you an answer?

  • Did you find a difference in the before and after times?

  • Did all the groups get the same result?

  • If there was a difference, what could have caused it?

  • Are the results valid?

  • Did we control variables well?

  • Was our measurement accurate?

  • How could it be improved?

Write a summary

“I used to think that... but now I know that... because...”

Forces - Teaching resources
Forces - investigations additional resources
Which falls faster - a feather or a hammer?