Editor selections by Topic and Unit

The Physics Front is a free service provided by the AAPT in partnership with the NSF/NSDL.

Detail Page

Item Picture
written by Tom Henderson
Free-body diagrams are a powerful tool to analyze forces exerted by interacting objects. This interactive activity, part of The Physics Classroom tutorial collection, provides self-directed practice in constructing free-body diagrams. Twelve descriptions of physical situations are presented; the goal is to determine the type and relative magnitude of the forces acting upon the described object. Additional help is provided with one click on "Web Help".

See Related Materials for a link to the four-part tutorial "Force and Its Representation", also written by author Tom Henderson.

Please note that this resource requires Shockwave.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Applications of Newton's Laws
= Friction
- Newton's Second Law
= Force, Acceleration
= Interacting Objects
Education Foundations
- Assessment
= Self Assessment
- High School
- Middle School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Problem/Problem Set
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- Assessment
- New teachers
  • Currently 0.0/5

Want to rate this material?
Login here!

Intended User:
Access Rights:
Free access
© 2001 Tom Henderson
applied force, contact force, force diagrams, free-body diagrams, frictional force, gravitational force, normal force
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created September 27, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
September 27, 2011 by Caroline Hall

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/H1. The change in motion (direction or speed) of an object is proportional to the applied force and inversely proportional to the mass.
  • 9-12: 4F/H4. Whenever one thing exerts a force on another, an equal amount of force is exerted back on it.
  • 9-12: 4F/H7. In most familiar situations, frictional forces complicate the description of motion, although the basic principles still apply.
  • 9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.

9. The Mathematical World

9B. Symbolic Relationships
  • 9-12: 9B/H1b. Sometimes the rate of change of something depends on how much there is of something else (as the rate of change of speed is proportional to the amount of force acting).
  • 9-12: 9B/H4. Tables, graphs, and symbols are alternative ways of representing data and relationships that can be translated from one to another.
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
T. Henderson, (2001), WWW Document, (https://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/fbd.cfm).
T. Henderson, Shockwave Physics Studios: Free Body Diagrams (2001), <https://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/fbd.cfm>.
APA Format
Henderson, T. (2001). Shockwave Physics Studios: Free Body Diagrams. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/fbd.cfm
Chicago Format
Henderson, Tom. Shockwave Physics Studios: Free Body Diagrams. 2001. https://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/fbd.cfm (accessed 26 May 2024).
MLA Format
Henderson, Tom. Shockwave Physics Studios: Free Body Diagrams. 2001. 26 May 2024 <https://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/fbd.cfm>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Tom Henderson", Title = {Shockwave Physics Studios: Free Body Diagrams}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {26 May 2024}, Year = {2001} }
Refer Export Format

%A Tom Henderson %T Shockwave Physics Studios: Free Body Diagrams %D 2001 %U https://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/fbd.cfm %O application/shockwave

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %A Henderson, Tom %D 2001 %T Shockwave Physics Studios: Free Body Diagrams %V 2024 %N 26 May 2024 %9 application/shockwave %U https://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/fbd.cfm

Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

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 Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

This resource is stored in 5 shared folders.

You must login to access shared folders.

Shockwave Physics Studios: Free Body Diagrams:

Accompanies Physics Classroom: Force and Its Representation

A link to the tutorial by the same author on the topic of force representations.

relation by Caroline Hall

Know of another related resource? Login to relate this resource to it.
Save to my folders



Related Materials

Similar Materials