Friction and force.

Today’s lesson is a science one. Believe me, no kid is too young for science!

Friction is defined as: The rubbing of one object or surface against another.

Force is defined as: Something that acts on an object. You can calculate force with this equation – force = mass x acceleration.

Today’s lesson used ice cubes and our driveway. I needed to clean out the freezer and the kids needed to go outside so, presto, two things accomplished at once.

Friction

We took the ice cubes out onto the driveway. It was a cold day, so I wasn’t sure this would work, but it did.  I told my son the definition of friction and asked him to find a way to create friction with an ice cube.

First, he rubbed it against his hand. But that got too cold for him. “Mommy, the ice cube is making my hand cold and my hand is making the ice cube melt.” Thus we had a transfer of heat/energy and another topic for discussion. He repeated this on each hand, on his nose, and on his sister’s hands before deciding that the “ice cube transfers too much cold energy to me.”

Second, he rubbed ice cubes against the driveway. This is what I wanted him to do in the first place because with enough rubbing you get the ice to melt and you can draw pictures. He made all sorts of lines all over the driveway with friction. He calls it “friction painting.”

Force

Then we moved onto force, which was his favorite part of the lesson. I told him that force is something acting on an object. I said the ice cube will be the object, and we will be the force. I let him figure out how to be a force.

His first “force” move was stomping on the ice cubes. He got to make cool sounds. As a variation, I told him that we can change the amount of force we put on the ice cube to change the result. So we stomped slower and with less force and jumped with lots of force and everything in between.

His second “force” was throwing the ice cubes down on the ground at various places and watching them break. We repeated the same variations as before.

We had a blast with this lesson. It wasn’t intense, it didn’t involve writing. It simply involved doing something he likes (throwing and stomping on things) in an environment where I was okay with it (outside and ice cubes).

A special thanks goes to Rader’s Physics 4 Kids. They gave me a lot of ideas on thing to do in the future and helped with the definitions.

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