Pushing and pulling

You can make things move

Use your hands to just push or pull a chair. You can put this another way: a force is acting on the chair exerting by you. It does not have to be your hands, you could use shoulders, feet or head – but it might require some ingenuity to pull as well as push.

This pushing or pulling could start the chair moving. But catching a ball is also pushing or pulling, and stops the ball moving.

You can stop things falling

Use your hand to support a carrier bag of shopping by pulling upwards, or supporting a bag of apples by pushing upwards. You're supporting the carrier bag or the apples, so these are examples of support forces. There is a force acting on the bags exerted by you.

You can act on anything by exerting a force on that thing


You exert a force on a thing by pushing or pulling.

The force acts on the thing.


How you might be thinking