Friction
Forces and Motion | Electricity and Magnetism

Lifting a tin

Classroom Activity for 5-11 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

This lifting slippery objects activity helps children describe the world by:

  • recognising that grip forces are essential to completing some everyday tasks
  • recognising that grip forces vary as the surfaces vary

What to Prepare

  • friction hand puppet pairs: slippy and grippy (grippy can be made of reversed leather, slippy of parachute nylon – see what materials are to hand)
  • some large diameter tins or plastic bottles to lift – glass jars are tempting, but are just a disaster waiting to happen

What Happens During this Activity

Lift the tin by placing hands, whether encased in friction gloves or not, on either side of the tin, so that there are clearly surfaces in contact. Repeat for tins of different mass, and with different surfaces. Set it as a challenge, evolving with the discussion by using varying friction puppets

Teacher: Who can lift this tin?

Teacher: Now let's try changing who is doing the lifting: my little friend slippy will help us.

Emphasise, through discussion and diagram and active labelling with the cardboard arrows, that there is a grip force between the tin and the hand or glove, and that this can be large enough to lift the tin, or not.

Friction
is a special case of Force
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