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Newton's Law of Motion in the primary school

Discussion in 'Science' started by MrBrettB, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. MrBrettB

    MrBrettB New commenter

    Who believes that Newton's Law of Motion (first law) should be taught in Key Stage 2? I'm writing an essay on energy in the National Curriculum and was wondering whether or not people thought that this was something children should be taught at this stage.

    Comments will be much appreciated.
  2. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Why not just stick them in for GCSE in year 6? Instead why don'ty they make sure the kids can read, write and count and leave the science to us in secondary schools?
  3. MrBrettB

    MrBrettB New commenter

    I understand that you believe that it is too complex for KS2 children, I'm not trying to take a side I was just looking for peoples opinion on the matter.
    When you say
    are you trying to imply that "real science" is only done in secondary schools?
  4. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    What I understand blazer to be saying is that primary schools shouldn't be teaching children stuff they aren't clear about themselves. They arrive at secondary too many mis-conceptions and often weak on the basicsof literacy & numeracy. There is a reason why secondary schools employ specialists.

    What exactly are you thinking of doing with newton's laws in primary? I see no harm in children learning that a force can make things go faster but to try to put any more into it than that, at primary, is probably putting the cart before the horse.
  5. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Incidentally, why are you thinking specifically of the first law? I've always seen it as a particular case of the 2nd law, and one which even children in secondary often find counter-intuitive.
    The 2nd law, in the more general case where there IS an unbalanced force, is far less likely to cause confusion.
  6. MrBrettB

    MrBrettB New commenter

    I see where you are coming from and it's a very good point and I totally agree with you when you say
    The reason why it came up was because my Science Professor at University suggested the idea and I was interested to see what people thought about it.
    Also we looked at Newton's First Law as we used the example that children learn from play at an early age that if they push a toy car it eventually stops no matter what they do. They then go through school with the misconception that moving objects will eventually stop which contradicts Newton's First Law.
    But you can't teach them everything in KS2 I guess, and like you said the main focus is to get their more essential skills such as reading and writing up to scratch before they tackle ideas such as this.
  7. T34

    T34 Lead commenter

    Probably a good idea to teach Newton 1 during KS2, at least to the brighter kids.
    The idea behind the law is quite simple - it directs you to look for a cause for change in motion. If there isn't a cause, things continue as before. Something, somewhere is interacting with your "thing" and causing the change.
    That's not very intuitive, which is the reason it didn't really get formally stated until round about Newton's time (unless some ancient Greek philosopher said it too)!.
    I think the word "force" should be introduced only when the basic idea (that change in motion requires explanation) has been understood and accepted as a reasonable possibility.


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