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Rugby forces

  • Key Stage 3
  • Popular Activity
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Modelling
Topic: Forces

This activity brings the excitement of the World Cup into the classroom. Students look at pictures of scrums, tackles, line outs and so on, and decide where the forces are acting. They then colour in players and arrows to illustrate the forces' directions and magnitudes. This activity is particularly appropriate for lower ability year 7 students.

Published: 27th September 2007
Reviews & Comments: 15

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Learning objectives

Students will:
• Identify the directions of forces in balanced and unbalanced force pairs

Try the activity

You will need Acrobat Reader installed to open the activity sheets.

11-14 (KS3) Forces and their effects (QCA module 7K)
• Recognise that forces have both magnitude and direction
• Describe situations in which forces are balanced and unbalanced
• Described how unbalanced forces affect the direction and speed of a moving object

Running the activity

Display page 1 to introduce the activity. You might like to show a few minutes of World Cup action, too.

If running the activity as a short starter, give each pair of students one picture cut from page 2. Tell them to decide who or what is doing the pushing or pulling in their picture, and to colour in that part of the picture. They then colour the appropriate arrow in the same colour. Share findings through class discussion or by creating a display.

If running this as a main activity, give each student or pair a copy of page 2. Tell students to discuss and colour in all 6 pictures, as described in the instructions at the top of the page. Then get students to cut up page 2 and categorise the pictures: those with balanced forces and those with unbalanced forces.

In discussion, you might like to ask students whether anyone is getting squashed, speeding up or slowing down, or changing direction in each picture. This activity is also a good opportunity to challenge a common misconception by emphasizing that forces is associated with a change in motion rather than simply motion or the direction of motion.

If you violently disagree with the direction of any of the arrows on page 2, please write a comment for this activity on the web site, and we'll amend in the light of a general consensus…both forces and rugby excite great controversy!

News links

BBC sprort
Useful pictures and reports from the rugby world cup
See this site for a good selection of photos

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?

rugby forces

Feb 1st, 2012

4 Star

Looks very useful for lower ability year 7 who like to colour pictures anyway

Reviewer: graham, singleton

excellent resources fro class homework projects

Mar 24th, 2011

5 Star



Sep 28th, 2010

4 Star

This is a great activity to engage students in forces and get them to think about the science in a context that relates to everyday life (walking, running, jumping). Any student finds the task interesting and engages with the science and is differentiated by student ability to explain the science involved.

Reviewer: Tracey Holmes


Jul 25th, 2010

5 Star

Works very well to extend pupils understanding beyond the standard force diagrams of moving cars etc. Lower abilities are happy to just do some colouring!

Reviewer: Philip Dovell


Jun 8th, 2010

5 Star

very infromative and systematic! It enlightened me how a complete learning materials should be. Thank you!

Reviewer: Caleb LO

Rugby forces review

Sep 21st, 2009

4 Star

a really good resource tool for the students but, I had to simplify bits of it for my students - worked well as I could link it into the PE sessions (cross curricular - always a bonus with the SMT)

Reviewer: william wakeman


Nov 23rd, 2008

3 Star

Reviewer: amma nkansah


Sep 30th, 2008

5 Star

It was an excellent activity. really clicked with yr 8. they enjoyed doing it

Reviewer: viji varghese

Rugby Forces

Jul 13th, 2008

3 Star

Good basic set of drawing that shoe forces in an understandable way. Used a clip from Rugby World cup to introduce the activity. Used with year 7 Level 3/4 as a review, assessment for learning activity.

Reviewer: Tim Kilbey

science forces

Jun 6th, 2008

5 Star

An excellent resouces to teach about forces

Reviewer: fidelis mugova


Jun 5th, 2008

5 Star

Fitted in well last term as the boys were doing rugby for games. Used as a cross-currricular activity

Reviewer: Helen McNeoll

Rugby forces review

May 22nd, 2008

3 Star

my low ability year 7's enjoyed this, but did find
it difficult, and a lot of guidance was needed.

Great starter activity though! thanks!


Rugby forces review

May 10th, 2008

4 Star

Worked really well with a mixed ability year 7 group, especially we could act out some of the pictures and they could see what was happening

Reviewer: eve hallinan

Rugby Forces

Oct 15th, 2007

5 Star

Top set Y7 found this a very entertaining way to reflect on how forces are used in sport. This activity lent itself well to differentiate the top students from the middle ability students as they were able to consider other forces. Also I included video footage of scrums, line outs, rucks and mauls to add extra interest at the beginning of the lesson.

Reviewer: Iain Hickman

rugby forces

Oct 12th, 2007

4 Star

very engaging for the lower ability yr 9s as a revision aid. you can extend this for the higher ability students by making them design similar pictures of other sports

Reviewer: debra johnson