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Online Physics for Teachers
Hands-On Courses for Elementary and Middle School Teachers
  The Course on Force, Motion, and Energy
You can turn a small force into a larger one using gears
There are 10 units, as described below. Each unit starts with an exploration (simple qualitative investigations) of the subject of the unit, followed by two activities (more formal investigations, frequently having a quantitative component). The sections "About ..." are a few pages of text and pictures explaining the relevant scientific concepts. The final section "Discussion of ..." presents some questions for the participants to discuss. They email their discussion to the workshop instructors. In addition, many sections have an additional page "Why study (the subject of this unit)?"

Here is an outline of the activities of the course, and a few sample pages.

  • Timing
    Learning how to use the stopwatch, and how deal with measurement errors
  • Force
    Measuring force; interacting systems; Newton's Third Law
    Science Content: Force
  • Balanced forces
    Static equilibrium
  • Force and energy
    Energy and levers
  • Uniform motion
    Newton's First Law
  • Acceleration
    Acceleration in one dimension. Acceleration involving change of direction of motion.
  • The law of force and acceleration
    Newton's Second Law
    Why Study The Law of Force and Acceleration?
    Rolling Race
  • Potential energy and kinetic energy
    Magnet launcher
  • Friction
  • Vibration


Joseph Straley
Joseph P. Straley
Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0055
(859) 257-3197