Physics

Lesson 2 - Friction Races

Lesson Plan

Grade Level:

Grades 3-4

State Standards:

Grades 3 & 4

Give examples of how energy can be transferred from one form to another.

Differentiate between properties of objects (e.g., size, shape, weight) and properties of materials (e.g., color, texture, hardness).

Essential Question:

How do Newton's laws of motion describe and predict the motion of objects?

Lesson Question:

What is friction?
What surfaces create more friction? Less friction?
What kinds of surfaces allow a cart to move faster? Slower?

Introduction:

Racers start your engine! Today we are going to work with a property called friction. The friction of the race track determines how the car moves. Can you predict how friction will affect race car?

Task:

You have been asked to design the latest NASCAR track. We will be testing different surfaces that have varying levels of friction. Then you and your team will get present your proposed track to the panel to get approved. You will explain why your material for the track is best and why they should pick it.

Lesson Experiences:

Day 1

First you will be introduced to friction by watching this Bill Nye clip.


Next you will explore what friction is by playing Fun with Friction on PBS.com. See what surfaces cause the object to slide further and which surfaces cause the object to move less.

Day 2

  1. Racers start your engines! You will watch a quick clip of a NASCAR race. Check out those cars. That track is made out of a material that provides its cars with just the right amount of friction. Check out this NASCAR clip to get you started!
  2. http://youtu.be/68cRTqoociY

  3. NASCAR is getting bored with using the same materials for its track. They want to mix things up to make the races more interesting. You will work with your group to design the ultimate race track. You will spend the next day exploring different surfaces to decide which would make the best material for your track.
  4. Grab a spring scale & a hot wheels car. You will connect the spring scale to the front of the car. The reading on the scale will show you how much force is needed to pull your car across the different tracks. You will record the type of track and the amount of force needed to pull the car in your science notebook.
  5. Explore different track surfaces and record the data in your notebook. Surfaces to choose from include: tile, rug, sandpaper, ice, plastic, wood, and artificial turf. Make sure you lay the tracks flat across the table.
  6. Next you need to measure how far your car can travel across these different surfaces. Grab a ruler and a car. Roll your car across each surface. See how far it can travel before it stops. Its the friction that stops it.
  7. Now that you've tested all the surfaces, decide with your team which you think would be best for a race track.

EXTENSION ACTIVITY:

Day 3

Do you want to explore even more about friction?

At home or during free time in class try this friction race track game Friction Racers.

In this game you will change the surfaces of the track in different places to get the car to reach the finish line.

Decide with your team which our the tracks from yesterday would be the best material to use in a NASCAR track design.

Create a Prezi presentation explaining which track you think is best. Remember to back your reasoning with data from yesterday's exploration.

Here is the link for the Prezi.
Prezi


WHAT YOUR PREZI NEEDS:

Don't remember how to make a Prezi? No worries; look here.

HOW TO MAKE A PREZI

  1. Go to Prezi.com.
  2. Create a login.
  3. Click "Create".
  4. Select "New Prezi".
  5. Pick one of the many AWESOME templates.
  6. Click on the different text boxes to add text.
  7. To insert in an image click "insert" then pick "image". From there you can pick the picture you want to use.
  8. When you are finished click the "share" button.


Day 4

  1. Present your Prezi with explanation to the class
  2. Listen to other students' present their Prezi's.
  3. To end you will watch a Bill Nye music video about Friction.

Conclusion:

Now you know more about friction! In what other places and evenets can you predict the effects of friction?

Assessments:

1. Data tables from investigation.
2. Presentation for race track.

Your Presentation Contains...

Strong

Good

Adequate

Inadequate

Selection of surface material

Your presentation selects one of the surface materials from the investigation for the race track. You provide at least two reasons why you selected this material.

Your presentation selects one of the surface materials from the investigation for the race track. You provide only one reason why you selected this material.

Your presentation selects one of the surface materials from the investigation for the race track. You provide no reasons why you picked it.

Does not select a material from the investigation.

Data

Your presentation contains both pieces of data from the investigation (distance traveled, amount of force exerted). You use this data to explain why this material is a good choice.

Your presentation contains both pieces of data from the investigation. You do NOT provide any explanation of why this data supports your choice.

Your presentation only contains one pieces of data from the investigation. You do NOT provide any explanation of why this data supports your choice.

No data or explanation provided.

Friction

In your presentation you explain why your track has the right amount of friction. You identify surfaces that have more or less friction than yours. Explain why this surface is better than another surface with a different level of friction.

In your presentation you explain why your track has the right amount of friction but you only have ONE of the following: 1. You identify surfaces that have more or less friction than yours. 2. Explain why this surface is better than another surface with a different level of friction.

In your presentation you explain why your track has the right amount of friction but you DO NOT: 1. Identify surfaces that have more or less friction than yours. 2. Explain why this surface is better than another surface with a different level of friction.

Your presentation does NOT explain why your track has the right amount of friction.

Quality of Presentation

The presentation has a beginning, middle and end. Prezi flows together. You speak loudly and clearly during the presentation.

The presentation has a beginning, middle and end. Prezi flows together. The speaker is difficult to understand.

The presentation has a beginning, middle and end. Prezi does not flow together well. The speaker is difficult to understand.

The speaker is difficult to understand. The presentation does not have a flow. The presentation also does not have a beginning, middle and end.

Resources:

Classroom Materials:

Note: all surfaces should be approx. same length (1-2 feet).

Digital Resources:

Video:

NASCAR - Sprint Cup All-Star Race - 2009

Thekaneguy

http://youtu.be/68cRTqoociY

Fun with Friction PBS

Fun with Friction PBS

Video:

Bill Nye The Science Guy – Friction

http://youtu.be/6v8zkEwiEQM


Friction Racers

Friction Racers

Prezi

Prezi


Video:

Bill Nye the Science Guy "Friction Happens"

http://youtu.be/a5SOCxYft20



Teacher Notes:


When selecting the surfaces for the students to test make sure they are all the same length (somewhere between 1-2 feet). You can freeze water in a tray to make an ice track.

 

Image Credits:

"Model of a racecar, digitally rendered out of Lego" by Reuvenk via Wikimedia Commons. (Lego_CAD_Racecar.JPG)