Sub. Professor Laughton
Beginners - forcing the issue
Mon Jun 2, 2014 00:29

Mona tucked her mousey hair behind her ears, it being just long enough to be kept out of her way in this fashion. A few weeks into her tenure at RMI, she was getting to grips with thing. She could find her way well enough and was starting to know the names of the students – though mostly those who stood out, either as high flyers or as trouble, the middle ones were still a bit of a blur – and she was no longer shocked by how small they all were when her first and second year class walked in.

“Good afternoon,” she smiled at them, her gentle Scottish accent adding a nice cadence to the words. “Today, we'll be beginning the topic of forces. Forces are things that act on an object. They mostly affect something's movement – its speed or direction. Can anyone here name any forces?” she asked. It was a common topic in a lot of Muggle schools and thus something they might have been familiar with, though she wondered whether her description would resonate in a different way with those who were more familiar with magic....

She scribbled down their suggestions on the board and, once they had been exhausted, resumed her lecture.

“So, the basic forces we're going to be looking at today are gravity, which causes objects to be drawn to each other and is why, on Earth, we experience having weight, and why we don't float off into the air. Push, which drives objects away from you, and pull which bring them in towards you.

“These may be starting to sound like the effects you get with certain spells, and you would be right. The first part of your lesson today will be to note down a spell that utilises each of those three forces. I'd also like you to make a list of all the forces on the board and see if you can find spells that utilise each of them for homework – some may be trickier than others, and we'll discuss any blank spaces next session.

“Magic is also a force. Unlike other forces, it can be channelled to have almost any effect. However, people often make the mistake of thinking that magic is above nature – that to have it is to be over-ruling the forces that exist in the natural world, and that simply isn't true. I can pick up this paperweight as easily with my hands as I could with my wand. Is this some impressive demonstration of my dominion over gravity?” she asked, brandishing the paperweight, “Of course not. I've simply applied a greater force to it than the one that was holding it down. The simplest proof that magic is a force imitating or countering the other forces around it, rather than somehow cancelling them out or being outside their laws, is that it takes more magical effort to lift something the heavier it is.

“This is to do with balanced versus unbalanced forces. If all the forces acting on an object are in balance, it stays still. To make an object move, you have to tip those forces out of balance – by pushing, by pulling, by lifting or by using a magic spell that does any of these things. The second part of class today is going to be spent levitating objects of different mass,” she assumed even the first years would be reasonably competent at this spell by now, “And each bench has a box of odds and ends to work with. You'll notice that each has a tag attached with its mass written on it in kilograms. In order to work out how much force is needed to get the object moving, you'll need to use the equation force = mass x acceleration A good steady rate to levitate something is about five centimetres per second, but we need it in metres for this calculation, so we divide by one hundred. Therefore, calculate the force needed to move each object, you times the mass on its tag by 0.05. I'd like you to make notes of the different force you need for each of the objects in your box, and to try to be aware of how you're channelling more or less magic as a result of the different force you require for each.

“Feel free to chat quietly about your work. You may begin.”

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