Week 20 (3-20-17) Experimenting with Friction

We began with our rice.  Tossing our moldy bags of rice and filling and labeling our new jars of rice.

What everyone has now are jars of rice–one labeled “control” (which means that we’ll completely ignore this jar), one labeled “I love you” (which means that we’ll bless and praise and thank the rice in this jar), and one jar labeled, “you fool,” (which means we will say negative things to the rice in this jar).

Students have been asked to speak to their rice once a day.  (More is fine). Then to record on their grid with simple check marks that they have spoken to it.  If by chance their grid for recording is lost, they simply could use notebook paper to record the date and a check mark for each day they speak to each jar of rice.

All the jars should be kept in the same location–living room, bedroom, etc.  Just not in the refrigerator or freezer.

Thanks for helping your son or daughter be diligent with this experiment.  After our spring break we’ll discuss what we’ve found in our rice as a response to our words.


Friction.  Monday was classic for watching an experiment go one way when it was SURELY supposed to go the other.

What you’re seeing here are pictures in our second half of class where we’re experimenting with an empty pop can and a full pop can by sending them down a ramp.

Yeah, only the empty pop can, because it has less friction on it than the full pop can, is supposed to be the first one down the ramp.

Only it’s not.

The full pop can barrels down the ramp first seven out of seven times.

Which honestly is what most of the kids thought would happen. That the full can would outrun the empty can.

But. Let’s back up. Here’s our question. Which can–full or empty–will make it down the ramp first?

And here we are writing it down.

Here’s where we delved into discussion talking about friction.

And exploring what resistance on an object means.

Apparently riveting.

What we did conclude–Ben put it into the best words–was that in our experiment the weight of the object overcame the friction on it.


Proof, I suppose, that even when it fails, it doesn’t fully fail.


When we’re back from break, we’ll take another look at these same topics–friction and resistance–and create our own experiments with objects on or off a ramp.

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