Forces and Motion | Properties of Matter

Friction investigations

Classroom Activity for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

Here pupils make some measurements of frictional force, and investigate the factors affecting that force.

What to Prepare

Per group:

  • A newtonmeter
  • Several shoes – pupils might be encouraged to bring in their own
  • Several one kilogram masses
  • A plank of wood and a means of supporting it at different angles
  • Copies of the support sheet (see below)

Safety note: Support planks properly. Avoid having planks on top of benches, where they may fall off.

What Happens During this Activity

There are two possible investigations:

  • How much force is required to make a shoe slide?
  • With the shoe on a slope, what angle of slope is needed to just make the shoe start to slide?

For each, try to motivate exploration by relating the problem back to everyday concerns.

The two investigations can be carried out with very simple apparatus, as shown.


Download the support sheet / student worksheet for this activity.

is a special case of Force
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