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Force Definition

A force is a push or pull that can cause the motion of an object to change. For example, when a soccer player kicks a ball, the force has both strength and direction.

View Lesson on Balanced & Unbalanced Forces
Grades 3-5 VideoBalanced & Unbalanced Forces player orange
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Balanced & Unbalanced Forces

Fun Facts

  • The Earth is a contact force pushing up against an object that is being pulled down due to gravity.
  • Gravity is an example of a force that pulls all objects toward the center of the Earth, like when jumping on a trampoline.
  • Rocket scientists must be very careful about the direction of the force when launching a rocket for a mission to be successful.

Why Do We Need To Know About Force

Learning about forces helps us understand why things move and why jobs like designing planes need exact math. Forces are important whether you’re playing sports or sending rockets to space.  They matter in many parts of life and work.

Knowing about forces lets us change how things in the world work, like controlling a bike or winning at tug-of-war by using forces in smart ways. This knowledge is important not just for science and engineering jobs but also for understanding how things around us work every day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Izzy’s golf ball fail to go in the hole?
Izzy hit the ball too hard. He used too much STRENGTH when applying a force.
What was the difference between Zoe’s first and second golfing attempts in terms of force?
In Zoe’s first attempt she used the right amount of STRENGTH when applying a force to the ball, but did not know the right direction because she was wearing a blindfold. In Zoe’s second attempt she applied just the right amount of strength and knew the right direction to win. (A force has both strength and direction.)
How did Zoe make Izzy fall down while they were playing tug of war?
When Zoe pulled with a lot of force while Izzy wasn’t pulling at all, the strength of the force was greater in Zoe’s direction. That made Izzy move in that direction.
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