Students will learn several important characteristics about friction. Students will also learn why athletes who curl in the Winter Olympics try to understand and control friction.
Students will learn several important characteristics about friction, in particular how to increase or reduce friction. They will also learn why athletes who play curling in the Winter Olympics try to understand and control friction.
Students will be able to:
1.Ask scientific questions
2.Explore the concept of “friction”
3.Explore the science behind the game of curling
4.Conduct a scientific experiment to understand friction
5.Conduct a scientific experiment to reduce or increase friction
6.Maintain a record of their observations
7.Use the record of their observations to construct reasonable explanations for questions presented to them.
The NBC Video: Science Friction: Curling, a shoebox, a bag of 20 small rocks or marbles for each shoebox, pencil, ruler, access to a variety of surfaces (cement sidewalk, grass, dirt, carpet, and vinyl floor), and a copy of “Exploring Friction Experiment Results Sheet”
Anticipatory Set (Lead-in):
Tell students to get ready for a very exciting lesson! Ask students to raise their hand if they know what curling is. Ask for one or two students to volunteer to describe what they think curling is. Tell students that curling may be the most unusual sport in the Winter Olympics and that they are going to watch a short video about the fascinating science involved with the sport. Watch the NBC Video:Science Friction:Curling.
Lesson Plan Procedure:
1. Tell students to rub their hands together quickly. Ask students what they notice. Discuss responses. Tell students that their lesson today will involve how what they just did with their hands relates to what happens when athletes curl in the Winter Olympics.
2. Ask students if they know the name of the scientific phenomenon that occurred when they rubbed their hands together.
3. Discuss responses.
4. If the answer “friction” was not mentioned, you can tell students that they were creating friction with their hands.
5. Tell students friction is a force that is produced whenever one object moves against another. The amount of friction depends on the types of surfaces and the force pressing the two surfaces together. Students felt their hands get warm because heat is produced by rubbing two objects together. Friction can help us or slow us down. Ask students to think about ways friction might help us.
6. Discuss answers. Point out that friction is the force that helps us move and walk. It allows us to have something to “grip” and push against so that we can walk. Ask students to think about ways friction might slow us down.
7. Discuss answers. Students might mention how different surfaces have an effect on them when they are riding their skateboard or bike. You might ask students if they thought they could go as fast on their skateboard on grass as they could on a sidewalk.
8. Tell students that in the Winter Olympics, many of the sports involve understanding and controlling friction. Ask students to think of some of the sports that are played during the Winter Olympics. Discuss answers.
9. Ask students to think about why it would be important for an athlete that was curling to understand friction. Discuss answers. Point out that curling involves movement against a surface and that friction will occur. In curling, athletes work very hard to reduce the amount of friction that occurs. Like we talked about earlier, friction can either help us or slow us down, so these athletes want to understand how friction can help them move as fast and as smoothly as possible.
10. Tell students that they are going to be experimenting with a shoebox and different surfaces to explore friction.
11. Divide the class into groups of 4 students each. Provide each group with a shoebox, bag of rocks (or marbles), a ruler, a pencil, and a copy of the ”Exploring Friction Experiment Results Sheet”.
12. Tell students that each person in the group will be responsible for a job to do. One person in the group will be responsible for pushing the shoebox with approximately the same force each time on every surface they use. One person will be responsible for measuring how far the shoebox moved. One person will be responsible for recording what surface was used and how far the shoebox moved, and one person will be responsible for taking the three measurements for each surface and averaging them to come up with one distance measurement per site.
13. Tell students that for every site they choose, to make sure to mark where the starting point is (mark on the ground surface where the front of the box is). The “pusher” must give one push to the box (three separate times) over five different surface sites: over a cement surface, over grass, over dirt, over carpet, and over a vinyl floor. After the box stops moving, mark on the ground surface where the front of the box is. Measure the distance the box moved.
14. Point out that the person doing the push for each object should try to be very consistent each time. To make sure that the “push” is consistent, the person doing the pushing should do it three times at every site and take the average distance of the three pushes.
15. Students should use the “Exploring Friction Experiment Results Sheet” to record all information during the experiment. Remind students to come up with a group prediction of which surface they think the box will move the farthest on. They must write down their prediction before they begin the experiment.
16. Tell students that after they do the experiment with the empty shoebox, they are going to do it again, this time with the bag of rocks (or marbles) inside. Remind students to make a group prediction about which surface they think the box will go the farthest on before they actually push the box. Also remind them to take the average of three pushes each time.
Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set):
Ask students if they have a better understanding of what friction is. Ask each group to come up with one thing they have learned about friction. Tell the groups that they are not to repeat an answer that has already been given. As each group reads their statement, write it on the board. After all groups are finished reporting, ask students if what they see on the board about friction would help someone who was learning how to curl. Ask students to think about the video they saw about curling. Ask students what the sweepers were doing (reducing the friction between the stone and ice). Ask students if there was a way that they could think of to reduce the friction between their shoebox and the surfaces that they were experimenting with. Tell students that like curlers, they are going to have one more experiment to do, which is to find a way to reduce friction and make their box move a greater distance.
Assessments & notes
Plan for Independent Practice:
Tell students that it is possible to either increase or reduce friction. Ask students if they would increase or reduce friction if they spread sand on an icy sidewalk. (increase) Ask students if a skier would increase or reduce friction if they applied wax to the bottom of their skis. (reduce).
Tell students that their job is to increase the distance that their box will go on one of the surfaces that they used. Ask students if this would involve increasing or reducing the amount of friction that exists between their box and the surface (reducing). Tell them that they must not increase the initial force that was used to push the box. Ask students to work in their original group to first brainstorm ways in which they could reduce the friction between the box and the surface so that the box will go a greater distance. Students must keep a record of what they had brainstormed as well as the results of their new experiment to make their box move a greater distance.Remind students to once again push their box three times and average the distance of those three pushes to get one push result. Tell students that during the next class period they will have the opportunity to share with the other groups the ways that they used to try to reduce friction.
Assessment Based on Objectives:
Begin the next day’s lesson with the quiz titled, “Exploring Friction Quiz”. (See attached quiz)
Possible Connections to Other Subjects:
Math: Measuring the distance the box moved each time. Figuring out an average from three different measurements.
Physical Education: Students will learn about the way friction can affect their performance in a variety of sports.
Language Arts: Students could write to the U.S. Curling Team to ask athletes specific questions about curling. The address is:
USCA National Office
5525 Clem's Way,
Stevens Point, WI 54482