Science 101: Are there different types of force and motion?by: Joanne Harris

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"Red Rover! Red Rover let Jesse come over!" Young students are familiar with the observable effects of force and motion but may not have considered the many varieties demonstrated in simple ways every day on the playground. This brief article offers the basics of force and motion for teachers.

  • Elementary
  • Middle
Publication Date

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Reviews (12)
  • on Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:48 PM

I like this article because it is straight to the point and is something that I could share with my fifth grade students and they would be able to understand and discuss.


  • on Tue May 05, 2015 2:07 PM

I thought this article gave many great way to incorporate physical activity with force and motion. I loved that it got students out of their seats. The article defines four types of motion linear, rotational, reciprocating and oscillating. Students cant see these forces but they can feel them through motion which is what makes this activity so great. Children are able to understand force and motion by observing it and acting it!

Caitlin Quigley  (Brant, MI)
Caitlin Quigley (Brant, MI)

  • on Tue Dec 02, 2014 9:18 AM

I have great appreciation for this article because it is straight to the point and easy to understand. Clear, and easy to understand is a great element in an article, since Science can be a bit confusing. This article detailed the elements involved in Force and Motion, such as what is force, the role of gravity and the different types of motions, friction and the machinery involved in motion. It was a good and informative read.

Kerris S  (Wichita Falls, TX)
Kerris S (Wichita Falls, TX)

  • on Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:57 AM

This interesting article gives a very quick overview of forces and motions in the everyday life of a child. This led me to think the following.... A good start to a force and motion unit could be to have students describe all the forces and motions they can think of that encounter on the playground.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:35 PM

Although this article is for middle school teachers-I think elementary school teachers would benefit a lot from reading this. It is only one page long, easy to read, and explains the key vocabulary found in the beginning force and motion concepts. The copy that I sent to an elementary teacher was well received. She found it was very helpful to her because that concept was one she was not very familiar with.

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia

  • on Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:51 PM

Wow! A short, simple, and to the point article designed to answer a teachers questions about force and motion. The strength of this article is helping clarify the terminology needed to teach a unit about force and motion effectively. It also briefly talks about relationships between force and motion, effects of frictions, and how simple machines tie into this unit. All teachers, novice and veteran, would benefit from reading this article.

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia

  • on Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:43 PM

This short article is the perfect accompaniment to further my content knowledge while teaching the Motion and Design module. The definitions for force, motion, gravity are kid and teacher friendly. In addition the section - Forces of Resistance - is perfect for the lesson using rubber bands to move the vehicle.

Donna W  (Erie, PA)
Donna W (Erie, PA)

  • on Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:50 AM

This is a very short article about forces. The article defines four types of motion - linear, rotational, reciprocating, and oscillating. We can’t see forces but we can see the results of forces by observing different motion. Understanding these four types of motion helps us to understand the forces that generate this motion. Therefore if children can describe motion by observing it, then they can predict the forces and apply motion knowledge to understand the world around them.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:13 PM

This article presents a summarized overview on forces and motion. While the article does not offer detailed information or lesson plan information on force and motion, the examples used to define the forces and motions presented in the article can be used in the classroom to help students begin to develop conceptual understandings of these terms and their meanings. The article also offers a SciLink with code for more information on “Simple Machines.” Overall, this is a good article for a quick overview on the topic of forces and motions.

Susanne Hokkanen  (Orland Park, IL)
Susanne Hokkanen (Orland Park, IL)

  • on Sun May 03, 2015 6:44 AM

A lot of elementary basics about forces and motion, good for K-8 teachers to review.

Robin Willig  (Rye Brook, NY)
Robin Willig (Rye Brook, NY)

  • on Tue May 05, 2015 2:45 PM

This article was great about getting students out of the classroom and into the world. I really like that they used a simple game that most students already know to explain something as complex as motion. The article defines the 4 different kinds of motion and really describes that we see the results of force and motion. It was a short journal entry and there were no lesson plans however, creative teachers will have no problem incorporating this into the classroom. Overall, it was a great journal with lots of helpful ideas.

Angela Collins  (Lansing, MI)
Angela Collins (Lansing, MI)

  • on Tue May 05, 2015 1:57 PM

The article covers motion - linear, rotational, reciprocating, and oscillating. Force is something understood not necessarily seen. Students need opportunity to be able to observe motion in the classroom, then they can predict the forces and apply motion knowledge to understand the world around them.

Nichole Tompkins
Nichole Tompkins

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