Easy Frictional Force Experiment

Materials needed for the friction experiment

A small toy car or any small object that can slide (like a wooden block).

A ramp (a piece of cardboard or a wooden board works well).

Different surface materials (e.g., sandpaper, wax paper, fabric, plastic wrap).

A stopwatch or timer.

A ruler or measuring tape.


Set up the ramp:

Place the ramp at a fixed angle (you can use books or blocks to maintain the same height for all trials).

Prepare the surfaces:

Attach different surface materials to the ramp, one at a time. Make sure each material covers the same area of the ramp.

Sliding the object:

Place the toy car or object at the top of the ramp.

Release the object and let it slide down the ramp.

Use the stopwatch to measure the time it takes for the object to reach the bottom of the ramp.

Record the time for each surface material.

Repeat the experiment:

Repeat the experiment several times for each surface material to ensure accurate results. Record the times for each trial.

Measure distance (optional):

If you want to measure the effect of friction on distance, you can measure how far the object travels after leaving the ramp for each surface material.

Discussion questions

Which surface allowed the object to slide the fastest? Why do you think that is?

Which surface caused the object to slide the slowest? Why do you think that is?

How does the texture of the surface affect the friction?

What would happen if you used a heavier object?


Friction is a force that resists the motion of one surface relative to another. In this experiment, different surface materials create different amounts of friction.

Smooth surfaces (like plastic wrap) tend to have less friction, allowing the object to slide faster.

Rough surfaces (like sandpaper) have more friction, causing the object to slide slower.

This experiment is a great way for kids to see and understand the effects of friction in a hands-on, interactive manner.

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