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Friction on a bike

Look at a bike to find all the places where friction is increased and reduced to make the bike work.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Physics: Motion and Forces, Newton’s Laws, Gravity (K, 2, 6)
Lessons activity is in: 
  • bike
  • ball bearing unit to look at closely
  • pictures of ball bearings in handle bar stem, wheels etc

Stand the bike at the front of the class.

Ask students to find places on the bike where friction is increased or decreased to make the bike function.
Friction is high (brakes, pedal surfaces) where the rubbing surfaces are rough.
Friction is reduced (wheels, handle bars) with ball bearings and grease (rolling and lubricants).

Look at ball bearings taken apart to see how they work.
Look at pictures of other places that have ball bearings (handle bars, wheels, pedals).

See attachment for stand-alone version of this activity.

Attached documents: 
Grades taught: 
Gr 1
Gr 2
Stephanie Monaghan
Teaching site: 
General Gordon Elementary
Activity originally developed and delivered: 

Gordon Elementary