Key Idea: A force is a push or a pull between two objects.

Students are expected to know that:

  1. A force is an interaction between objects, not a property of an object or something that resides within an object.
  2. Forces can be interactions between two objects in direct contact with each other or operating at a distance as in the case of gravity or a magnetic force.
  3. Forces between objects in direct contact with each other can be passive, such as a book setting on a table, or active, such as the pushes and pulls of mechanical devices or caused by various human activities.
Percent of students answering correctly (click on the item ID number to view the item and additional data)
Item ID
Number
Knowledge Being Assessed Grades
6–8
Grades
9–12
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FM054002

For a tire swing hanging from a tree, both the force of gravity and the force of the rope on the tire are forces acting on the tire.

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FM052004

A ball does not acquire a force when it is rolled off a table.

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FM059003

An object does not acquire a force by being shoved.

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Frequency of selecting a misconception

Misconception
ID Number

Student Misconception

Grades
6–8
Grades
9–12

FMM114

An impelling force (impulse or impetus) can become part of an object. For example, the force involved in throwing or hitting an object becomes part of the thrown or hit object (McCloskey, 1983; Fischbein et al., 1989).

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FMM091

Passive objects (stationary rope, tabletop) cannot exert a force (AAAS Project 2061, n.d.).

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Frequency of selecting a misconception was calculated by dividing the total number of times a misconception was chosen by the number of times it could have been chosen, averaged over the number of students answering the questions within this particular idea.