# Many students see friction as a phenomenon, rather than as a force

Forces and Motion

Misconception

### Diagnostic Resources

• Friction between solid surfaces (11-16)

This resource explores the factors that affect the force of friction.

View Resource
• Visualising what happens at surfaces for grip and slip (5-11)

This activity is designed to help children describe friction by:

• recognising that sliding rough surfaces past each other has a warming effect
• recognising that grip forces vary as the surfaces vary
View Resource
• Friction (11-14)

When two surfaces are in contact there is a force acting on each surface that acts in a direction to stop them moving past one another.

View Resource

## References

The following studies have documented this misconception:

• Clement, J. () "Students' alternative conceptions in mechanics: a coherent system of preconceptions?" in H. Helm, and J. D. Novak (Eds), Proceedings of the International Seminar: Misconceptions in Science and Mathematics. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 310-315.

This study highlighted common ideas among students, including the ideas that a force can be used up; a force inside a moving object is what keeps it going and if there is motion, there must be a force in the direction of motion. They suggest teachers develop metaphors which organise intuitions the student already has.

Paper digest

• Clement, J. () Using Bridging Analogies and Anchoring Intuitions to Deal with Students' Preconceptions in Physics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 30 (10), 1241-1257.

This study aimed to measure the effect of using 'bridging' analogies (analogies with intermediate examples) to address the preconceptions of students (aged 15-18). The sample consisted of ~200 pupils across multiple schools, data was collected using pre- and post-intervention tests, and results were analysed using a t-test.

• Clement, J. () Students' preconceptions in introductory mechanics. American Journal of Physics, 50 (1), 66-71.