New research suggests that smart phone use is seriously damaging our necks. Looking down at an angle places great strain on the spine, and can result in serious harm. In this activity students learn about the forces acting on the spine. They then devise a plan to investigate the causes of text neck, before solving a dilemma: will they use their phone less to prevent neck damage?
In this lesson students will make a decision about whether to use their phone less to prevent neck damage using:
- Forces: identify forces on objects
- Ask and define: define a problem and devise a plan to investigate it
Try the activity
England National Curriculum KS3:
- Working Scientifically: Experimental skills and investigations: select, plan and carry out the most appropriate types of scientific enquiries to test predictions, including identifying variables.
- Physics: Forces: Using force arrows in diagrams, balanced and unbalanced forces.
GCSE Combined Science subject content:
- Working Scientifically: Experimental skills and strategies: plan experiments or devise procedures to make observations, produce or characterise a substance, test hypotheses, check data or explore phenomena.
- Physics: Forces: use vector diagrams to illustrate resolution of forces.
Running the activity
Starter New research shows that using your phone may seriously damage your neck. Will you use your phone less to save your neck?
Main Explain why the force on the top of your spine depends on neck angle. Plan how to investigate whether using your phone damages your neck.
Plenary Students make a final decision on the dilemma question.
For detailed running notes, download the teachers guide.
Please note that the resources were updated on 14/05/2015.
A newspaper article describing the research
A second newspaper article describing the research
The scientific paper in Surgical Technology International
Forces acting on the neck (see figure 8)