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Friction Force
Task with Student Directions
Contributed by: Oregon State Department of Education




Your Name:

Partner #1:

Partner #2

Partner #3

You may work in groups of two, three, or four, however, each member of the group must be working on a completely different question. Usually groups of two work best.


Friction Lab


Each person in your group needs to come up with a question and hypothesis regarding the properties of friction that is based on reasonable understanding of force, mass, velocity, and weight. Once a question and hypothesis have been approved by the instructor, each student will then design, execute, and present written results of that investigation.


Each person from your team will turn in a separate report with this sheet and the scoring guide sheet stapled on top. In order for this lab to be graded, you must circle on each section of the scoring guide which score you believe best describes your lab.


Your lab must measure how some factor affects the frictional force between two surfaces. Do not attempt to measure air friction or other fluid friction.


Here are some topics chosen in the past, you may choose one of these, or pick one of your own. Note that some topics may require you using your own personal materials.


  • Weight
  • Type of materials
  • Stopped force vs. moving force
  • Surface Area
  • Texture of materials
  • Vibration
  • Speed of pull
  • Softness of material
  • Lubrication
  • Slope (incline)
  • Temperature of material
  • Friction of wheels


    This lab is worth 100 points per person. Your teacher will fill out the portion below.




    (out of 20) Question (6=20 pts, 5=16 pts, 4=14 pts, 3-20 pts, 2-6 ptsw, 1=1pt




    (out of 20) Design (6=20 pts, 5=16 pts, 4=14 pts, 3-20 pts, 2-6 ptsw, 1=1pt




    (out of 20) Data (6=20 pts, 5=16 pts, 4=14 pts, 3-20 pts, 2-6 ptsw, 1=1pt




    (out of 30) Analysis (6=36 pts, 5=27 pts, 4=21 pts, 3=18 pts, 2=9 pts, 1=1 pt




    (out of 10) Analysis (6=10 pts, 5=8 pts, 4=6 pts, 3=5 pts, 2=3 pts, 1=1 pt




    Total (out of 100)




    What is Friction?

    An Inquiry Project


    Friction is a part of our everyday lives and experiences. In fact, understanding the rules of friction allow us to do things better. For example: in sports that use courts, shoes are designed to stick to the surface of the court only when there is a horizontal and vertical force. Golf shoes and other cleated shoes are designed to stick in the ground, restricting horizontal movement. Bowling shoes and ice skates are designed to minimize friction, allowing the shoe to slide over the surface.


    Observe the demonstration. Draw a force diagram for each situation








    Referring to the diagrams above, describe how you can measure the friction force.

    The friction is an apposite and equal force to the force of the pull, it also has to be a constant speed.




    Using the same materials above, develop a plan to increase the friction force.

    Add another brick so the weight is more.




    Using the same materials above, develop a plan to decrease the friction force.

    Put oil on the surface so it slides.





    Your assignment is to investigate one factor that is or maybe related to the amount of friction on the block. Using the materials shown in the demonstration, design and complete an investigation using the Physics scoring guide.



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