Newtonian Mechanics in Action

5 March 2024

Class 10/11 have been investigating Newtonian Mechanics. In science we flip the ‘teach then show’ model by allowing students to first experience a phenomenon with deep curiosity, hypothesise potential answers and then test their educated guesses through experiment. Find out more below…

Newtonian Mechanics is the study of systems of forces and the physical laws describing the motion of bodies under the action of a system of forces.

Class 10/11 began by taking part in an experiment designed in 1888 by Benjamin Baker, the designer of the Forth Railway Bridge. Baker designed and demonstrated the experiment, in which he and two colleagues formed part of the structure, to illustrate how forces are transmitted through the structure.

Baker named the experiment ‘Arms and Men’. We call it the Forth Bridge Experiment and use it as an introduction to our study of forces because pupils will physically experience tension and compression, the two fundamental forces, simultaneously. Pupils also take a turn at being an anchor by standing on an inclined rope attached to the structure, where they may experience the vertical and horizontal actions of an inclined force.

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