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Interaction: Introduction To Force

In this article, you will be introduced to Forces and their effects according to the Singapore Primary 6 Science syllabus. You will learn to identify a force as a push or a pull, understand the different effects that a force has on an object and recognise the different examples of forces.

 

Understanding Force as a Push and Pull

When two objects interact with each other, there will be a force acting on each other. This force can be a push or a pull depending upon what kind of interaction the objects have.

A push is an action that moves a body away from you. When a push is being applied onto an object, the object moves away. For example, when you push a box, the box moves away from you.

A pull is an action that moves a body towards you. When a pull is being applied onto an object, the object moves towards you. For example, when you pull a trolley, the trolley moves towards you.

Force is everywhere around you. When you are walking, you are exerting a force on the ground. When you are writing, you are exerting a force with your pen on the paper.

Here are a few common activities that you perform daily that are being classified into either a push, a pull or both.

Push Pull Both Push and Pull
  • typing on the keyboard
  • pressing the doorbell
  • kicking a ball
  • throwing a basketball
  • crushing a can
  • squeezing a sponge
  • leaning against a wall
  • opening the door
  • brushing hair
  • flag raising
  • brushing teeth
  • writing on paper
  • wringing a towel

 

Effects of Forces

Force is everywhere around us and occurs almost all the time. We cannot see a force. We can only see or feel the effect caused by a force, i.e. we can only observe what the force has done to the object.

Let’s see some of the common effects caused by forces.

  1. A force can cause a stationary object (at rest) to start moving.

Some common everyday activities that display this effect of force include kicking a ball, pushing someone, starting the car engine, pushing a trolley, cycling, etc.

  1. A force can cause a moving object to speed up or slow down or change its direction of motion.

Examples of these effects from our daily lives are given in the table below.

Effect Examples
Speed up
  • pedalling harder on a bicycle,
  • pushing accelerator in the car,
  • pedalling on a skateboard.
Slow down
  • applying brakes in a car,
  • friction,
  • air resistance.
Change direction
  • hitting the shuttlecock in badminton,
  • kicking the football coming towards you,
  • hitting the shuttlecock coming towards you using a racket.
  1. A force can stop a moving object

We see this effect of force in action when we catch a ball thrown at us, when a goalkeeper catches the football kicked towards him, catching a frisbee, etc.

  1. A force can change the shape of an object

When we squeeze a sponge or when we crush a soda can, we are applying a pushing force and the shape of the object changes due to it. Other examples include kneading the dough or clay, stretching a rubber band, crushing a paper, etc.

 

Types of Forces

Different types of forces exist around us. Some forces act only when two objects come in contact with each other, while some other forces can act on objects from a distance. The different forces that you will learn about in Primary 6 Science are:

  • Magnetic force
  • Frictional force
  • Gravitational force
  • Elastic spring force

 

Conclusion

In this article, we learnt about how to identify a force as a push (when it causes an object to move away from you) or a pull (when it causes an object to move towards you) or both. 

We also learnt that a force cannot be seen but the effects of a force can be observed. A force can cause a stationary object to start moving, or a moving object to speed up, slow down or change direction. It can also cause a moving object to stop and can even change the shape of an object.


 

Continue Learning
Interaction: Introduction to Force Living Together
The Environment And Relationships Food Chains: Roles And Relationships
Interaction Of Forces: Friction Food Webs: Roles And Relationships
Energy In Food  

 

Test Yourself

QUESTION 1/2

Timmy threw a ball at the wall. Which one of the following effects of force is illustrated when Timmy threw the ball?

1. A force can stop a moving object.
2. A force can make a stationary object move.
3. A force can change the speed of a moving object.
4. A force can change the direction of a moving object.

A. 

Statement  1

B. 

Statement  2

C. 

Statement  3

D. 

Statement  4

Explanation

When a ball is being thrown at the wall, the ball will hit the wall and bounce back.
Ans: (D) Statement  1

QUESTION 2/2

Which of the following are examples that show a force that can change both the direction and the speed of a moving object?

force quiz image 1

A. 

C only

B. 

A and C only

C. 

B and C only

D. 

A, B and C

Explanation

When the two balls in A knock into each other, the balls may move slower, stop or change direction.
The two balls in B are moving in the same direction and so the direction of the balls will not change when they hit each other.
The ball in C is being dropped onto the ground and bounced back up. Thus, the direction and the speed of the ball are being changed.
Ans: (B) A and C only

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