What forces affect submarines?

Lesson overview

The context of the lesson is a practical investigation to discover how shape and surface area affect the speed at which a submersible descends. Students develop their understanding of forces, surface area, and fair testing.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand gravity as a force
  • Consider how forces affect submersibles
  • Investigate how shape affects speed
  • Predict and test with accuracy
  • Describe how forces affect submersibles

Lesson step

  1. Forces mini quiz (15 mins)
    Students take a forces mini quiz in groups to assess their level of understanding and open a discussion about gravity.
  2. Virtual submarine dive (10 mins)
    Students take a virtual submarine dive and consider how forces might impact on submersible design.
  3. Shape investigation (20 mins)
    Using modelling clay students investigate how a variety of shapes move at different speeds through water. Making predictions, students test different shapes and measure speed ensuring it is a fair test.
  4. Understanding water resistance (15 mins)
    Students describe why shapes move at different speeds using scientific vocabulary to explain their findings.