Education Technology

Friction: Your Friend or Your Enemy?

Updated on 03/28/2014

Activity Overview

In this lesson, students explore static and kinetic friction by dragging shoes with different types of soles across a table at a constant pace.


  • Students will determine what factors affect the friction between two surfaces.
  • Students will relate the forces needed to drag different shoes across a table at a constant speed.
  • Students will develop an understanding of the forces needed to start the motion of shoes with different soles.


  • acceleration
  • force
  • kinetic friction
  • mass
  • Newton’s Laws
  • static friction

About the Lesson

This lesson simulates the static and kinetic friction of different shoes being dragged across an inclined plane.
As a result, students will:

  • Manipulate values for force in different situations.
  • Measure static and kinetic friction data.
  • Determine the coefficients of static and kinetic friction.
  • Apply Newton’s Laws to solve problems.