Earth Science Learning Community

Friction Frenzy

Lesson Plan

Grade level: 5

State Standards:

  1. 1.3 Identify and explain the difference between the three types of friction; starting, sliding and rolling friction.

Essential Question:

Lesson Question:

What is friction and what does it produce?


To gain student motivation for this lesson, the students will head to the gym. Students will take their shoes off and slide on the gym floor with their socks. They should experience friction first hand. Their feet should become hot as they slide across the floor and eventually slow down. The students will then change to scooters. With a partner, students will take turns to push their partner across the gym floor on the scooter, noticing how much farther they went with wheels.


Students are going to perform a number of different investigations on the topic of friction. They will investigate how to measure friction and that in different ways and on different materials that friction can increase according to an objects mass.

Lesson Experiences:

Day 1

  1. Give students a new vocabulary word (friction). Write it on the board.
  2. Take students down to the gym. Demonstrate for them to take their shoes off, run, then slide across the floor. Let students try a few times.
  3. Now have the students get with a partner. Have students use small scooters and push each other across the gym floor. Students should observe how easy it is to push someone after the initial push and how far they go compared to sliding with their socks on.
  4. Go back upstairs, let students write words antiquated with friction. You may also give them the definition. Add 3 more terms to the board, starting friction, sliding friction and rolling friction.
  5. Have students watch the Prezi on friction.
    They will gain content knowledge here. Students will be encouraged to write down any unfamiliar vocabulary and questions that may arise.
  6. For homework, students will complete a worksheet on friction.

Day 2

  1. Begin the class with watching a music video on friction. INSERT VIDEO FRICTION MR. PARR
  2. Go over the 3 types of friction and the 3 things that friction can do.
  3. Students will conduct several different activities by rotating to a number of stations.
    Station 1: Students will rub their hands together quickly for 10 seconds and record observations. They will then add hand soap and rub their hands together for 10 seconds and record observations. Students will then try to rub their hands together with marbles in their hands(3 or 4 marbles is good) and run their hands together for 10 seconds and record observations.
    Station 2: Students will roll a marble across a table to their partner on the other side. Students will then add a table cloth to the table and repeat. Students will will then add a wool blanket and repeat the process. Record observations.
    Station 3: Students attempt to take a lid off a glass jar. After they have opened the jar, have the students put soap on their hands and try to open it again. Record observations. Students should wipe the jar down after every use to remove any soap.
    Station 4: Students will have a bog of wooden blocks(scrap wood from a lumber shop). They will rub different types of sandpaper on the wood. The different types of sandpaper will have numbers according to their texture, finer vs. rougher. Have students record observations after rubbing the wood with a different numbered piece of sandpaper.
  4. Go over students observations and findings.
  5. For homework, students reflect on their findings from the different stations by writing a paragraph.

Day 3

  1. Students will begin the lesson by going to the computer lab for 15 - 20 minutes and playing a friction based computer game. (
  2. Students review procedure for the activity they will do in day 4. This is done before the activity because of the length of time needed the next day.
  3. Procedure:
    1. Students collect materials.
    2. Students tie rope to box and attach spring scale.
    3. Students add 1 dictionary to the box to add mass.
    4. Students drag the box on a tile floor and measure and record the force.
    5. Students add 2 more dictionaries to increase the weight to the box and repeat.
    5. Repeat procedure but do it on a carpeted area.
    6. Students place the box on a 4 wheeled scooter and repeat the process.
    7. Students drag the box with 1 dictionary and use a spring scale to measure and record observations
    8. Students repeat this, but adding more dictionaries.
    9. Students repeat the process again, but place the scooter on the rug.

Classroom materials:
Materials: box, string, scooter spring scale, student dictionaries(weights), pencils, worksheet to record observations on starting, sliding, and rolling friction.
Students should work in groups of no more than 4.

Day 4
1. Conduct activity.
2. Go over results.

Day 5
1. Students will be assessed on the concepts and vocabulary associated with friction by taking a quiz.


At the end of this unit, students will be able to identify what friction is, the three types of friction and learning what friction can do.


Students will be assessed in this unit based on their group work during their activities as well as their final assessment.

Assessment Rubric

Activity 4 3 2 1
Group Work (Friction Stations & Lab) All members work well together all of the time; assist others when needed. Members work well together most of the time. Members work well together some of the time. Some teacher intervention needed. Teacher intervention needed often to help group cooperate.
Use of Materials Accurately and proficiently used all appropriate tools
and technologies
Effectively used someappropriate tools and
Attempted to use appropriate tools and
Did not use appropriate scientific tools or
Use of Scientific Content and concepts Provided evidence of indepth, sophisticated
understanding of relevant
scientific concepts
Provided evidence of understanding of relevant
scientific concepts
Minimal reference to relevant scientific concepts No mention or inappropriate references to
relevant scientific concepts