How Would You Explain Friction to a Child?


Quick Answer

One can explain friction to a child by using real-world examples of situations the child has experienced, such as movement, stopping, sliding and slowing down. Physics4Kids defines friction as a force that acts in an opposite direction to movement. A car slows down at a stop sign because of the friction between the brakes and the wheels as they rub against each other.

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Full Answer

Less friction means it is harder to stop and easier to slide. The website eSchoolToday explains friction as a force that stops things from moving easily. Using analogies with which the child is familiar promotes better understanding of the scientific terms. Without friction, a moving object continues moving. Friction between shoes and the floor prevents easily slipping when walking. Science for Kids states that there is more friction when two objects are pushed together harder; for a example, a child's hands are harder to rub back and forth when the child pushes them together. Things with more mass have more friction and are harder to move. According to Physics4Kids, friction is measured based on the type of materials in contact with each other. This measurement is called a coefficient of friction. If two materials have a lot of friction between each other, they have a higher coefficient of friction.

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