Forces introduction

All | Design & Technology | Physics | Science | 11-16

Learning Objectives

  • Know what forces are and why they are key to developing a winning race boat.

Lesson Description

This introductory Forces video is designed to be used as a short introduction to the five lesson resources that look at specific areas of forces in more detail. Whilst it is not a lesson in itself, it helps set the scene as to what forces are and why understanding them is so key to the success of the America’s Cup Team as they design, build, and race their boat in the F1 of sailing.

The video covers an introduction to Britannia, the 60mph America’s Cup boat, and the changes that have occurred over the years using historic information from the Lloyd’s Register Foundation. Students are encouraged to think about the type of forces acting on both stationary and moving objects introducing the concept of  balanced and unbalanced forces acting on an object.

Watch this short video by our Head of Education to find out how you can use the Forces module in your lessons.



For immediate access to all of our free Key stage 3 and 4 STEM teaching resources.

1.Forces introductory video

This 3 minute introductory video introduces students to the concept of forces and their importance in the real life context of designing and racing a winning America’s Cup boat, recapping on prior learning of what forces are, and how they act upon an object when balanced and unbalanced.

2.Forces Intro Video Transcript
3.STEM Behind the Scenes at INEOS Team UK

Find out all about how INEOS TEAM UK are using all of the STEM subjects in their bid to win the 36th America’s Cup

lesson plan 4.Lesson Plan: Forces Teaching plan for Forces complete with our 'Teacher Tips'
5.Teach with confidence

KS3 Curriculum Links England

Motion and Forces

Describing motion

  • Speed and the quantitative relationship between average speed, distance, and time (speed = distance ÷ time)
  • The representation of a journey on a distance-time graph


  • Forces as pushes or pulls, arising from the interaction between 2 objects
  • Using force arrows in diagrams, adding forces in 1 dimension, balanced and unbalanced forces
  • Moment as the turning effect of a force
  • Forces: associated with deforming objects; stretching and squashing – springs; with rubbing and friction between surfaces, with pushing things out of the way; resistance to motion of air and water
  • Forces measured in newtons, measurements of stretch or compression as force is changed

Pressure in fluids

  • Pressure in liquids, increasing with depth; upthrust effects, floating and sinking

Balanced forces

  • Opposing forces and equilibrium: weight held by stretched spring or supported on a compressed surface

Forces and motion

  • Forces being needed to cause objects to stop or start moving, or to change their speed or direction of motion (qualitative only)
  • Change depending on direction of force and its size


KS3 Curriculum Links Scotland

Forces: developing an understanding of how forces can change the shape or motion of an object and the forces acting on it, and developing an understanding of the concept of buoyancy, force, and density.

Working scientifically

  • Through the content across all five lessons students will develop:

Scientific attitudes

  • Pay attention to objectivity and concern for accuracy, precision, repeatability and reproducibility
  • Evaluate risks

Experimental skills and investigations

  • Ask questions and develop a line of enquiry based on observations of the real world, alongside prior knowledge and experience
  • Make predictions using scientific knowledge and understanding
  • Select, plan, and carry out the most appropriate types of scientific enquiries to test predictions, including identifying independent, dependent, and control variables, where appropriate
  • Use appropriate techniques, apparatus, and materials during laboratory work, paying attention to health and safety
  • Make and record observations and measurements using a range of methods for different investigations; and evaluate the reliability of methods and suggest possible improvements

Analysis and evaluation  

  • Apply mathematical concepts and calculate results
  • Present observations and data using appropriate methods, including tables and graphs
  • Interpret observations and data, including identifying patterns and using observations, measurements, and data to draw conclusions
  • Present reasoned explanations, including explaining data in relation to predictions and hypotheses
  • Evaluate data, showing awareness of potential sources of random and systematic error
  • Identify further questions arising from their results


All, Design & Technology, Physics, Science

Key Stage


Resource For

Students, Teachers




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