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Monday, February 23, 2015

Cars, ramps and friction

Teacher had some toy cars with her at school today.
She asked us to get them to move using a force.
 We tried pushing, throwing, flipping, twisting and blowing (which are all push forces).
We even tried pulling (which is a pull force).
Last Wednesday we were talking about Maglev trains and how they can go so fast (by electromagnetism) because the trains float on the rails rather than being ON the rails.
We wondered would our car travel equally far on different kinds of surfaces or would they be slowed down on bumpy surfaces (friction)?
We decided to test this out like real scientists.
We got some different surfaces ready, and put them in order according to how far the car would travel on each (starting with the slowest).
Next we needed to get the cars moving by themselves so we designed a ramp.  Now all we needed to do each time is to put the car on the top of the ramp and let go.
Gravity is a pulling force and would pull the car onto the ground.
We decided to measure the distance each car travelled using lolly sticks.
We recorded our results:
We found that some of our surfaces were a bit small so we had to change them.
 Here are our results in order:
The car travelled 3 sticks worth on the plastic and on the front of the car mat.  (These were the worst surfaces on which the cars travelled!)
The car travelled 4 sticks worth on the back of the car mat.
The car travelled 7 sticks worth on the jigsaw mats
and finally the car travelled best (8 sticks) on the cardboard and on the floor.
We put the surfaces back in order starting with the worst surface to travel on and finishing with the best surface.

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