Facts About Force: Push and Pull

Facts About Force: Push and Pull

Did you know that everything around us, in the entire universe is actually controlled by force? That’s pretty amazing don’t you think? From our planets moving around in space, to the sea rolling in and out as well as walking and running and even if you push your friend on a swing. Forces pretty much control everything.

Who would have known? So let’s dive in and find out how these mysterious forces of push and pull work. Are you ready?

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What is a force?

A force is really a push or a pull that makes something move or even turn around. Imagine you’re pushing someone on the swing, and they ask you to push harder and harder, the force gets bigger, and that then causes more movement. Or you’re playing football, you give the ball a soft kick and it doesn’t go too far too fast, but then you knock the ball out the park and it goes further and faster. The same thing happens when you pull something.

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Sometimes two forces work together on something, and then their efforts are combined. This will either make the force bigger, or it will actually cancel the force altogether. If they work in the same direction, then they make that force bigger, but if they work in opposite directions they cancel each other out. If the forces are balanced, which means they are equal in size but are acting in opposite directions, the object doesn’t move but it might change shape.

Any kind of force is really just a push or pull. Even magnetism is a force, which is exactly the same as a magnet that makes things move.

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Think about gravity, this is what pulls everything down to the earth, and this is a force too.

Have you ever rubbed your hands together, or seen your hair stand on end when you’ve dried it, well that’s another force and it’s called friction.

Pressure is another type of force and this is all about when you push hard on something, or your weight pushes down on something. Think about it like this. If you’re walking in the mud with boots, your weight is applying pressure on the ground, and you’ll leave muddy footprints behind and probably muddy footprints at home too! Bet your Mom won’t be pleased. Also if you push down hard on something, like a soft ball or even a soft piece of fruit, it will squash it, that’s what pressure is.

How is Force Measured?

Well force is measured in Newtons, named after none other than the late, great Isaac Newton. The size of a force is measured by a device called a force meter or newton meter. But how does it work? Well, as the load pulls on a hook that it has, it will stretch and then spring back to give a reading. It would be pretty cool to play with that device!

Fun Facts 

  • A force is a push or a pull. It can make something start to move, slow down or speed up, change direction or change shape or size. The bigger the force, the more powerful it is. The wind is a force. Even biting, twisting, stretching, lifting and loads of other things we do every day are also forces. Every time something happens, a force is right there doing its work.
  • When something moves there are a couple of forces involved. When you throw a ball, the force of your throw moves it forwards, the force of gravity pulls it down and the force of air resistance slows it down. One action, three forces! Amazing.
  • Amazingly even springs and elastics are types of forces. If you push against them they will resist, and then they spring back with exactly the same force that you’ve given them.

Vocabulary

Force – a push or pull

Magnetism – a force created by electric currents

Gravity – a force which tries to pull two objects toward each other

So, now you understand how the forces of push and pull work, go get those perfect grades in school!