At a Glance


  • STEM
  • Physics

Instructional Level

  • College & CEGEP
  • University


  • Mechanics

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Group

Type of Tasks

  • Collecting & seeking information
  • Solving problems

Technical Details


  • Single class period (< 90 mins)

Instructional Purpose

  • Application & knowledge building


In this activity, students complete a scavenger hunt in which they must take photos or videos exemplifying seven different situations involving force.

Students are assigned to groups of 2-3, and given a worksheet containing a list of seven situations involving forces (for example, static friction causing an object to accelerate). Students leave the classroom and attempt to find an example of each, taking a photo or video using their cell phones.

Students return to the classroom with their examples and present them to the instructor, who judges whether or not the example is satisfactory. If so, the instructor initials on their worksheet that they have taken the photo or video; if not students continue to search.

Once they have the photo or video, students complete a free body diagram corresponding to each photo or video, labeling the forces acting on the object. These can be brought to the instructor for feedback, then revised (as needed, or until the class ends).

Instructional Objectives

Students learn to analyze real world situations within the framework of forces and free body diagrams.

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

Phoebe Jackson

Phoebe Jackson

John Abbott College, Montreal


This activity is simple, easy to grade, and over in one session. It makes a good substitute for a lab. Students get to have fun outside while bringing their day to day life into the classroom by breaking down real situations into free body diagrams.


Students must be given enough time to complete this activity and undergo several revisions through trial and error. For larger classes it can be difficult for the instructor to efficiently manage a large number of groups requiring feedback at once, so it helps to cut down on the number of items in the list.


Limiting the number of situations which they may “set up” themselves forces them to look for naturally occurring examples. Prizes can be awarded to groups, or even all groups, for example “best videos” or “silliest examples”.

Applied Strategies


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