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Types of Force Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 What Is a Force?
  • 1:04 Gravity and Friction
  • 2:06 Electromagnetic and Elastic
  • 2:56 Tension
  • 3:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jeremy Cook

I have been teaching elementary school for 16 years. I have extensive experience in lesson and curriculum development and educational technology.

What happens when you push your friend on the playground? How about if your team pulls the hardest in tug of war? The reason your friend falls or your team wins is because you applied force. This lesson teaches you all about the different types of force.

What Is a Force?

For a lot of people, thinking of 'the force' brings to mind Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Yoda. In the movie series Star Wars, the force is an all-powerful connection between all living things. In real life, though, force works a bit differently.

To make things a bit more interesting, we're going to create a new superhero: Force Man! Force Man has two really cool superpowers. He can pull things and he can push things. Now, he can push and pull in different ways, but everything Force Man does is either a push or a pull. That's what force is at its most basic.

Think about when you go into a store. How do you get through the door? Well, you either push it open or pull it open. That's force. The stronger the force, the more it affects an object. If Force Man kicks a soccer ball lightly, it might only go a few feet across the grass, but if he superkicks it, it could go a long way.

Gravity and Friction

Force Man may seem kind of boring compared to Superman or Spiderman, but Force Man has some cool ways to push and pull.

One of the most obvious types of force that Force Man has to use is gravity. Gravity is the force that pulls things to Earth. It's the reason why your friend falls to the ground when you push him rather than just floating in the direction you push him. Gravity is caused by massive objects, like the earth.

Force Man has friction power as well. Friction is the force of resistance when rubbing two objects together. If you press your fingers across a smooth marble table, your finger won't encounter much resistance. In other words, it will be fairly easy to move your fingers across it. If you move your fingers across sandpaper, though, there's a lot more friction there, so it's much harder to move your fingers across that. Force Man can make an incredible amount of heat by rubbing his hands together. Go ahead and try it. Rub your hands together hard and fast. You'll feel the heat of friction.

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