Day 130: Friction Labs

Monday, 17 March 2014


Find the coefficient of friction given the materials pictured above. It’s a classic lab in physics that I inquiry-ified with some satisfaction. I asked the kids at the start which properties will affect the friction force between two materials. They quickly ruled out irrelevant properties like color. We debated properties of the environment such as temperature and humidity. Everyone agreed that weight of the block certainly makes a difference. Some kids wanted to investigate surface area, too.

I say I inquiry-ified the lab with some satisfaction — that’s because the only property I was prepared for them to investigate was the weight of the block. In reality, the inquiry part was an illusion, which doesn’t sit well with me.

Side note: I dig the rubrics on most pages so that kids know exactly what I’m looking for. I want to refine this concept by adding line items such as “the data’s good”, “the best fit line’s appropriate”, etc. Adding those without reducing the entire lab to a checklist with no original thinking is the tricky bit.

Get the Word version of this lab.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s