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Students explore that friction causes objects to move slower by testing toy cars on different surfaces.

Big Idea

Kindergartners explore friction by off roading with toy cars!


10 minutes

Students are asked to sit at their seats to begin a new science lesson on friction.

I begin by reviewing with students the definition of friction. Friction is: a force that causes two objects to slow down motion when rubbed together.

I say to students that, "we are going to experiment with friction by using a toy car on different surfaces."

Before beginning, students make predictions in their science journals using a simple form and sentence stems that are on sentence strips in the pocket chart. The sentence stems help to scaffold the writing piece for Kindergarten students.

The students make a prediction about their toy car and which surfaces they will go faster or slower on. Each student is given a Matchbox car to use in the experiment. They use the same car for each surface. 

The surfaces we use include:

  • tile floor with no grout lines
  • carpet
  • sandpaper



15 minutes

After students have completed their predictions, I hand out an instruction card to each student. The instruction card serves as a visual reminder for students of what they are to do. I do this because the students will all be up and moving around the room and it will be difficult to keep reminding students of what they are to do next. The card helps keep students on task. I also make the cards so that students are all in different places when they start. Some start on the tile, some on the carpet and some on the sandpaper. It is a good way to mix it up so that all students aren't in the same place at once.

Students are asked to go to their starting point based on their task card. They are given the task to practice pushing their toy car on each surface for a couple of minutes. I ask them to push the car in several different ways/speeds.

When I ring the classroom bell, students will rotate to the next place on their task card and repeat until they get through all three surfaces.

When the final bell rings, I ask students to take their task card and toy car back to their seats.


15 minutes

When students get back to their seats, they take their journals back out and finish filling out the form. They will circle yes or no for whether or not their predictions were correct. I emphasize that if they were wrong about a surface then it is okay. That is why scientists experiment with things. To prove or disprove ideas so they can move onto new ones.

After students fill out their forms, I ask students to discuss their findings with their table partner.