Science Sunday - Friction

We started our new science unit this week.  It is called Fun With Forces.  Hopefully in January some friends will join us for the second part of the unit which I expect will make it more fun for Froggy but which more importantly will improve the inquiry process.  It is much easier to see the experimental process when there are multiple people performing the experiment. 

I am using Teaching Physics With Toys as the basis for our unit.  This book lays out the activities as experiments and truly promotes inquiry the way I feel science should be approached.  I picked up the book based on a recommendation from Traveling Jews.  So many of the activities and curriculum we use come from recommendations out of my blogroll.  However for this particular activity I used Science Fun with Toy Cars and Trucks.  This book is written to be read by children and Froggy picked it up and asked to do some of the activities.  It is not inquiry based but I have modified tthis activity for an inquiry approach.

To give Froggy some background and ideas to pull from before presenting anything, we read Magic School Bus Plays Ball. For our first lesson, I made a car out of a milk carton.
This is all Froggy was presented with to start the activity.  We sat on the dining room floor (hardwood) and Froggy pushed the car as hard as she could so we could see how far it went.

It did not go far. We made several trials. It went approximately 90cm.   Then I asked her what we could do to make it go farther.  Her immediate answer was "Rapunzel can help me."  We tried that because she wanted to even though neither one of us really believed it would help.
Also I want her to enjoy the process.   As expected it did not really help.  I asked again.  She wanted to put it on the riding toy that Acorn got for Hanukkah.  I explained that it would not stay but it was a neat idea.

me - "What makes the riding toy move so much better?"
Froggy - It has wheels!! Can we give the box wheels?
me - we sure can

We again made several trials with the wheels.  The car went about twice as far at 170 cms.

We talked about why the wheels help.  I showed her how much higher the car sits when it is on the wheels and explained that less of it was touching the ground so there was less friction pulling on the car. We talked about Magic School Bus Plays Ball  and how it when there was no friction Ralphie could not stop after getting off the bus.

For more fun with science, check out this week's Science Sunday link-up, at Adventures in Mommydom.


  1. My son would enjoy this one. And he has plenty of cars to use to learn about friction and wheels.

  2. Very nice! I love all of Froggys' suggestions. Great way to use the scientific method. Thank you.

  3. I really like the way you went about this - I know my kids would enjoy it too.

  4. I love that Rapunzel helped!

    And she did very good figuring that all out.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Recipe Redux - Sesame Mango Salad

Girl Scouts

Food Finds