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Pupils will be studying Forces in science during Autumn 1. 

The National Curriculum guidance outlines what pupils should learn in this topic. 



Pupils should be taught to:

  • explain that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object
  • identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfaces
  • recognise that some mechanisms including levers, pulleys and gears allow a smaller force to have a greater effect

Notes and guidance 

Pupils should explore falling objects and raise questions about the effects of air resistance. They should explore the effects of air resistance by observing how different objects such as parachutes and sycamore seeds fall. They should experience forces that make things begin to move, get faster or slow down. Pupils should explore the effects of friction on movement and find out how it slows or stops moving objects, for example, by observing the effects of a brake on a bicycle wheel. Pupils should explore the effects of levers, pulleys and simple machines on movement.

Pupils might find out how scientists, for example, Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton helped to develop the theory of gravitation.

Pupils might work scientifically by: exploring falling paper cones or cupcake cases, and designing and making a variety of parachutes and carrying out fair tests to determine which designs are the most effective. They might explore resistance in water by making and testing boats of different shapes. They might design and make products that use levers, pulleys, gears and/or springs and explore their effects.

In groups, children measured  the craters caused by dropping objects of different weights into a tray of flour. They are recorded their observations, drew conclusions and explained causal links between the weight of the
objects and the shape/size of the craters they created.

Investigating the links between different surfaces and friction using force meters and measuring in Newtons.

Investigating air resistance using parachutes.

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