A 60 minute lesson in which students will explore the force of friction.
Prior to conducting the lesson, review the procedure and the equipment required for the experiment.
Plank of wood
Small classroom objects
Create a makeshift ramp, using a plank of wood and some books or blocks for height. Place a toy car on the ramp and then let it go. Ask the students to take note of how far the toy car traveled. Repeat the task, but place a strip of rough material (such as bubble wrap, carpet or felt) on top of the ramp and along the tabletop. Once again, ask the students to take note of how far the toy car traveled (it should not travel as far the second time). Ask the students:
What forces made the toy car travel down the ramp?
On which surface did the toy car travel the furthest?
Why might the toy car have traveled less distance on the second surface?
Display and discuss slides 11-12 of the Push and Pull PowerPoint. Discuss the meaning of the term ‘friction’ and explain how different surfaces create different levels of friction with an object. Encourage the students to suggest situations where friction is low (such as skiing down an icy mountain) and where friction is high (such as tires gripping to the road).
Provide the students with a copy of the Push and Pull Inquiry Task. Read the instructions for the friction task to the students and answer any questions they may have.
Support the students to complete the first two boxes (ask a question and make a prediction) on the Scientific Method Worksheet. Encourage the students to share their predictions.
Place the students into groups and assign a group leader to collect the necessary equipment. Allow the students to complete the inquiry task in small groups. Monitor and support the students as required.
Support the students to complete the last two boxes (observe and record results and method) on their worksheets.
Discuss the results of the inquiry task as a class. Ask the students:
Which of your objects had the least friction with the scrap book?
Which of your objects had the most friction with the scrap book?
Encourage fast finishers to find three different objects and repeat the inquiry.
Allow less confident students to be assisted by their peers during group work.