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Forces and Magnets – Faster and Slower


This week’s science task is an experiment.  If you have the equipment or can do something similar, please have a go. 


The experiment is to compare how things move on different surfaces by investigating the speed of a toy car over different surfaces.  You will be investigating the effects of friction.   


To carry out this investigation, you will need the following:

  • A toy car (the same toy car needs to be used throughout)
  • A board or plank of wood that can be covered with different surfaces
  • 5 different surfaces to wrap around the board/plank – sandpaper, a towel, tinfoil, lino, carpet, corrugated cardboard, bubble wrap etc.
  • Ruler or tape measure.


Read through the PowerPoint at least once with an adult.


Watch this video about friction on BBC Bitesize’s website.


Once you have watched the video and read the PowerPoint, you can set up and carry out your experiment.

Use the ‘Investigating Friction activity sheet’ to write down your predictions, record your results and write down your conclusion.  Alternatively, use a piece of blank paper rather than the sheet.


Another way to carry out the experiment is to use a pull-back toy car – a car that you can pull back, and once released, it travels forward itself without needing to be physically pushed.

To conduct the experiment in this way, you would need the following:

  • A pull-back toy car (the same pull-back toy car needs to be used throughout)
  • A flat, hard surface to lay different surfaces on
  • 5 different surfaces to place on top of the flat surface – sandpaper, a towel, tinfoil, lino, carpet, corrugated cardboard, bubble wrap
  • Tape measure.


Using a pull-back toy car like this would mean that you wouldn’t need a board/plank of wood.  You could simply put different surfaces (towel, cardboard, bubble wrap etc) over the top of the flat, hard surface and use a tape measure to find out how far the car was able to travel.  The car that was able to travel the furthest would indicate that the surface provided the least amount of friction.


If you are using a toy car and a board/plank, please use the first ‘Investigating Friction activity sheet’.  If you are using a pull-back toy car and different surfaces placed on top of a flat, hard surface, use the second sheet.



There are a few useful videos about friction on the BBC Bitesize website too.


Also, there is a video on YouTube about friction that would be good to watch.

Nursery – Mrs Harper & Mrs Bareham
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