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A Science lesson on friction




2, 3  

Science Lesson on Friction

Sara Broughton




: Friction

Grade Level

: 2-3


: Students will make predictions and record results
for friction activity. Students will also gain an understanding
of how surface material affects movement.

Teacher Materials

: overhead projector (optional)

Students Materials

: Each student will need a data sheet
and a pencil; each group will need a set of washers, surface materials
(four different boards covered with sandpaper, fabric, wax paper,
and one uncovered), two tubs connected by a string, and a wooden

Teacher Information

: For this activity the teacher will
need to obtain boards or thick cardboard and cover each with different
materials. (I have used sandpaper, wax paper, fabric, and one
uncovered). Also needed are two small identical plastic or tin
containers for each group, connected by a piece of string, enough
washers for groups to have 30 or 40, and a wooden block for each
group. On these boards should be a start and finish line of equal
distance. The students are to place the boards on the edge of
the desk and place tub with the block on the start line. The
string should be long enough that the other tub hangs over the
edge of the desk. The students then add washers until the tub
with the block moves to the finish line. The students will record
the number of washers it took to move the tub. Students should
first make a prediction for one surface, add washers, record results,
make prediction for next surface type and so on. Students should
not make all their predictions first because they can make more
accurate predictions after they have seen how many washers it
takes for other surfaces.

Management Strategies

: The students will be divided into
groups of 3-4 students working at desks or tables. The entire
lesson will take approximately 40 minutes. Students will need
to work cooperatively sharing materials and taking turns.


: 1. Teacher will begin the lesson with a class
discussion. Students can gather in a semicircle on the floor
around the teacher. This discussion should consist of the lesson
explanation, introduction of terms such as prediction, results,
and friction, and behavioral expectations. 2. Before beginning
the actual activity, the teacher should provide an example. Have
the students make a prediction for one of the surfaces and then
actually do it so they can see the difference between their prediction
and the results. 3. After the discussion break the students
into small groups by numbering off or whatever works best for
that particular class. 4. Pass out materials and data sheets
to each group. (You can have the materials at the desks before
the discussion or have the students help pass them out, whatever
the teacher feels most comfortable doing). 5. Once groups have
materials they may begin the activity. Remind them that they
must make their predictions first. During this part of the lesson
the teacher should walk around the room, monitoring the groups
to make sure they understand and are staying on task. Let the
students know when their time is almost up. The teacher may want
to let them know when they only have five minutes left. This
is important because you want each group to get through the activity
so you can compare results. 6. Finally have the students return
to the semicircle for a post discussion or wrap-up. During this
time the teacher can ask for each group’s data and put on them
on the board or the overhead. Discuss similarities and differences
between group’s data, their predictions and results, and how different
surface types affects the movement of the tubs and number of washers


: This lesson can be assessed through
a class discussion and journal writing. Hold a discussion after
the activity, as mentioned above, asking the students different
types of questions. "Why did it take more washers to move
the tub on sandpaper than it did on wax paper? How did your predictions
differ from your results? How did you go about making your predictions?"
After the discussion have students return to their desks and
write abut the activity in their journals. Give them some guidelines
as for what you are looking. "Write what you learned about
friction, making predictions, and results. How do the different
surface types affect the movement of your tub? What do we mean
by predictions and results?"


: The teacher could have the students
make a graph to show predictions and results which would be a
way to integrate math. The teacher could also read a book on
friction aloud to the class and discuss it.


: Mrs. Thompson, second grade teacher at Fairview

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