Understanding Inertia and Friction through Experimentation


Introduction to inertia and friction:

As students, it’s important to understand the concepts of force, push, pull, spring balance, and the difference between friction and inertia.

In this lesson, we will cover these topics and learn about the property of a body to continue to be at rest or in uniform motion until disturbed by an external force. This property is known as inertia.

Explaining Inertia and Friction:

Before we dive into our experiment, let’s define and explain the concepts of these. Inertia is defined as the property of a body to continue to be at rest or in uniform motion until it is disturbed by an external force. On the other hand, friction is the force that always opposes the relative motion between two surfaces. To give students a better understanding, we can use an example of a ball placed on the floor. The ball is not moving unless it is kicked, which means that there is inertia acting on the ball. When the ball is kicked, it will move and will eventually stop due to an opposing force, which is the force of friction.

Examples of Inertia:

To make the concept of inertia more relatable, we can give students some real-life examples. These examples include moving forward when a sudden brake is applied, feeling a backward force when the bus moves quickly from rest, dusting the floor with a broom, shaking a branch and the leaves getting detached, and experiencing a jerk when a lift suddenly starts.

Experimenting with Inertia and Friction:

The best way to understand these concepts is through hands-on experimentation. Divide students into pairs and provide each pair with the necessary resources such as a card, coin, and glass.

Follow these steps to conduct the experiment:

Put the card (playing card or hard chart paper card) on top of the glass.

Put the coin on top of the card. Hold the card on one side, and pull and slide the card really quickly towards you.

Observe what happened to the coin and write down the observations in their notebooks.

Write the following question on the board: “Use what you have learned about inertia to explain your observation above.”

Conclusion to Inertia and friction:

Through this lesson, students will have a better understanding of the concepts of friction and inertia. By conducting the experiment, they will be able to observe the effects of these concepts and relate them to real-life situations. This will give them a solid foundation to build upon in future lessons.

Note: Don’t forget to provide students with worksheets if available to help them better understand and analyze the experiment.

Faisal Abdullah
Author: Faisal Abdullah

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