Balanced and unbalanced forces

Balanced and unbalanced forces

I can answer questions about the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces...

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Balanced and unbalanced forces

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In this lesson, students are introduced to balanced and unbalanced forces. They will review push and pull, and learn how to determine whether a force is balanced and unbalanced by assessing a number of examples.


NGSS: 3-PS2-1; 3-PS2-2

Learning objective

Students will be able to explain the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.


Students discuss what they already know about the word “force” and they begin to fill in a K-W-L chart. After this, explain the words “push” and “pull” and share some examples.


Share an example of a tug-of-war with students. If you’d like, you can have students safely take turns playing the game. Using this example, explain the concept of balanced and unbalanced forces. Go through a few examples and have students determine whether the example is of a balanced or an unbalanced force. Why do they think so? Examples include ships in the water, hot air balloons, and parachutes. Students then drag images into one of two categories: balanced force and unbalanced force.


Students respond to questions about balanced and unbalanced forces.


Students discuss more examples of forces and explain their reasoning.

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