Students keep exploring gravity and friction with a little help from bubble wrap or other rough materials.
Slippery slopes and rough roads [PDF, 279 KB]
This is a hands-on exploratory activity which involves the students rolling a can down a ramp and onto a variety of surfaces.
Discussion about keeping the height of the ramp and the launch point of the can the same each time will assist students to understand the need for a consistent method if their results are to have meaning or be compared to another group's results.
At some stage, introducing the terms “variables” (in this case the surface being rolled on) and “constants” (in this case the can, the ramp height and the launch position) may be appropriate.
Depending on the ages of the students, recording of results can be done in a variety of ways. Very young children may use a visual measurement laid out on the floor to record where the can rolled to on each surface. Older children may use a form of measurement - perhaps a ruler or measuring tape or even create and use their own measuring system (e.g. their own feet or hands).
This activity is adapted from Building Science Concepts Book 42: Marbles. Additional content support for teachers can be found in this book.
Book 42: Marbles: Exploring Motion and Forces (TKI - Science online)(external link)
Investigating in Science – ask questions, find evidence, explore simple models and carry out appropriate investigations to develop simple explanations (Level 3-4).
NZ Curriculum | Science achievement objectives(external link)
Gather and interpret data, use evidence.
The five science capabilities (TKI - Science online)(external link)
Physical World. Explore, describe and represent patterns and trends for everyday examples of physical phenomena, such as movement, forces (Levels 3-4).
Gravity is a force which acts to pull objects.
Friction is a force between objects when they move over one another. It can be both useful and a problem.
The students can...