Balancing forces


This session was dedicated to exploring FORCES, WEIGHT and GRAVITY  – how it affects us and objects in the world. This followed on from our testing paper airplanes last week and observing how they flew through the air because the paper was folded into STREAMLINED shapes.

We then investigated how paper might behave if we simply dropped it from a height…

We took flat paper and crumpled paper of the same size and dropped each from the same height.

We discussed the reason one fell faster than the other… The flat paper RESISTED the air because it was a larger shape. It slowed the fall. We understood that the paper shapes weighed the same but fell at different speeds! We talked about DENSITY and WEIGHT.

We soon asked why it fell at all! We had all heard of GRAVITY and that it is a FORCE that pulls everything to the ground…

The children also explored letting a light hollow plastic ball drop and a piece of solid wooden Jenga drop to observe what happened and to talk about the different properties of each object.

We talked about a FORCE and whether we could see it or feel it. Mrs Hughes demonstrated some forces like PULLING the door closed or PUSHING it.

The children tried balancing forces by leaning their bodies against each other to try and push each other over.

The boys here are very good at OPPOSING each other’s force or weight of each other.

We discussed what it might be like to have the sensation of no weight – to have no gravity.

However I learned that GRAVITY is everywhere but that in SPACE there is very low gravity. MICRO GRAVITY.   (MICRO = VERY VERY SMALL).

We tried to imagine what its like to feel WEIGHTLESS


We watched a YouTube video published by NASA that shows astronauts playing soccer in space… look at how the ball moves!

The children remembered feeling weightless in a swimming pool and how the water kept their body buoyant. They began to move around their classroom as if they were weightless…

The website page for Kitsou Dubois – exploring weightlessness.
Kisou Dubois exploring weightlessness through dance…

I posted up an image of a French dancer called Kitsou Dubois who over the years has explored movement and gravity and has worked with the French Space Agency to train astronauts on moving in low gravity…

To help us imagine a feeling of low gravity I suggested the children try holding a heavy weight over as long as time as possible so their arms grew heavier and heavier. Mrs Hughes gave out some heavy books.

Two children tried this and then we asked them how their arms felt when they eventually dropped the heavy books! How light are those arms now? Do they seem to float in the air?

We set the children the task of imagining taking off in a rocket and travelling into space,  feeling weightless…




We all enjoyed using this special imaginative thinking to take us out of the classroom and to feel something different! More exploring next week….








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