Resources about forces (and motion)


This post is unfinished but I wanted to get at least some of the resources up on this blog.


We barely touched on magnetism in our classes but this is a good video from howstuffworks.


Newton’s Laws

This is my favourite video about Newton’s Laws. They are explained very clearly with simple 2D animation.

If you like learning through songs, here’s a song about Newton’s Laws by the Singing History Teachers on YouTube. (My musical son is not very impressed by the singing but he didn’t mind listening to it once.)

You can try the Khan academy videos and quizzes on Newton’s Laws here.

There are comprehensive lessons about Newton’s Laws on Physics Classroom, with some good animations, but these are only suitable for people who don’t mind a lot of reading.

Similarly, if your children don’t mind worksheets (which mine do, usually) you can download some here from

In our classes, we used the coin on a cup to demonstrate Newton’s First Law. The Exploratorium has a more impressive demonstration by whacking a stack of blocks.

More ideas about how to demonstrate Newton’s Third Law from Groovy Lab in a Box.

Get loads more hands-on ideas about teaching Forces and Motion from the teachjunkie website.


How do Aeroplanes fly? Video by Minute Physics

App: Simple Planes. Available on Steam for PC, smart phones and tablets. See video review here. The reviewer used the Steam version. There’s also Simple Rockets from the same developers.

Simple Machines


Download this infographic from Kids Discover.

Simple Machines app for iOS
 (link takes you to the CommonSenseMedia review).

Energy transfer

Another simple infographic from from, this time about potential energy vs kinetic energy .

I think building different marble runs is a great hands-on way to think about energy transfer. Also playing Mouse Trap or watching videos of machines that put the Americans in mind of Rube Goldberg and the Brits Heath Robinson. See I like the one with the glasses playing the ‘Pitagora Suitchi’ motif. (This covers sound as well as forces, motion and energy.)

One of my students took this self-paced four week course about amusement parks on Homeschool with Minecraft. It’s only 6.99 USD and the family definitely recommend it.


I left this until last because although it seems simple, understanding gravity can be quite confusing at times.

Here the Veritasium team go out and ask people what gravity is and how it works. Watch Minute Physics explain gravity in a little over a minute, or Bill Nye talk about it for a little over 22 minutes. Watch this video from NASA and/or watch Veritasium talk about whether there is gravity in space. You do need a tiny bit of mathematical knowledge to understand

If you or your child wants to understand more about gravity, you can watch this video from SciShow which contrasts the Newtonian understanding of gravity with the treatment given by Einstein. Then this video from How Stuff Works is pretty good in terms of visualising the curvature of space time depending on how massive an object is.

If you enjoy speculative fiction, there’s a series of short stories called Einstein’s Dreams which explore how life would be different if the physical rules of our universe were different.  Be aware that all these suggestions are way beyond the scope of our current primary science lessons, so don’t worry if you want to skip them.

Graphic novel from Small Friends Books

The Scale Free Network, as Small Friends Books, has already published two wonderful books for children with gorgeous illustrations and up-to-date science. I bought my son their existing books in 2014 and he often requests them as bedtime stories.SquidVibrioMoon_frontcover_IPPY

The Squid, the Vibrio and the Moon is our favourite, and it describes Vibrio fischeri bacteria travelling up the digestive tract of a baby bobtail squid called Sepio. The bioluminescent bacteria shine from the squid’s belly when the moon is out, confusing potential predators.


Zobi and the Zoox depicts a group of zooxanthellae saving coral from destruction.


The group has moved on to a graphic novel for adults and teenagers. The Invisible War depicts  the microscopic action inside human bodies, and our own symbiosis with bacteriophages (viruses which ‘eat’ bacteria). The large-scale story framing this action is the First World War and the human whose body is carrying the small-scale warriors is a nurse on the Western Front.



This ties in cleverly with Australian commemorations of ANZAC Day on 25th April. The team wants to raise $25,117 before ANZAC Day so they can create hard copy versions of the book.

The digital versions have already been trialed with children in schools in Victoria. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

“A battle on both small and large scales which explores the body as well as the living conditions in WWI.” Eddie, 13.
– “A fun informative graphic comic book, full of easy to read and understand facts about viruses and how they work.” Nelia, 16.

It is wonderful that scientists and artists are working together to create cross-curricular material. Please do support this campaign. They only have 14 days left!

Learn more about The Invisible War and pledge to support it here.

If symbiotic bacteriophages have piqued your interest, you can find out more from this National Geographic article by Carl Zimmer.