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written by Tom Henderson
This interactive problem set is designed to help students recognize forces that are exerted in 11 common physical situations. For each situation, the user will decide which forces are present (P) or absent (A), then use a pull-down menu to view correct answers.

This self-assessment is part of The Physics Classroom tutorial collection.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Newton's Second Law
= Interacting Objects
Education Foundations
- Assessment
= Self Assessment
- High School
- Middle School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Problem/Problem Set
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- text/html
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Access Rights:
Free access
© 2009 Tom Henderson
force, force pairs, frictional force, gravitational force, normal force, spring force, tension force
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created September 27, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
March 17, 2014 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
November 18, 2010
Other Collections:

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
  • The motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it; if the total force on the object is not zero, its motion will change. The greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion. (6-8)
  • Newton's second law accurately predicts changes in the motion of macroscopic objects. (9-12)

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.
  • 9-12: 4F/H7. In most familiar situations, frictional forces complicate the description of motion, although the basic principles still apply.
4G. Forces of Nature
  • 6-8: 4G/M1. Every object exerts gravitational force on every other object. The force depends on how much mass the objects have and on how far apart they are. The force is hard to detect unless at least one of the objects has a lot of mass.
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Record Link
AIP Format
T. Henderson, (2009), WWW Document, (
T. Henderson, Physics Classroom: Recognizing Forces, (2009), <>.
APA Format
Henderson, T. (2010, November 18). Physics Classroom: Recognizing Forces. Retrieved August 10, 2020, from
Chicago Format
Henderson, Tom. Physics Classroom: Recognizing Forces. November 18, 2010. (accessed 10 August 2020).
MLA Format
Henderson, Tom. Physics Classroom: Recognizing Forces. 2009. 18 Nov. 2010. 10 Aug. 2020 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Tom Henderson", Title = {Physics Classroom: Recognizing Forces}, Volume = {2020}, Number = {10 August 2020}, Month = {November 18, 2010}, Year = {2009} }
Refer Export Format

%A Tom Henderson
%T Physics Classroom: Recognizing Forces
%D November 18, 2010
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Henderson, Tom
%D November 18, 2010
%T Physics Classroom: Recognizing Forces
%V 2020
%N 10 August 2020
%8 November 18, 2010
%9 text/html

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Electronic References.

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Physics Classroom: Recognizing Forces:

Supplements Physics Classroom: Force and Its Representation

A link to the four-part tutorial by the same author on the topic of forces.

relation by Caroline Hall

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