What ideas do students have about static and kinetic friction?

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Episode 502: Moving box Florida International University

Research suggests that students have both productive ideas about and difficulties with forces. In the case of static and kinetic friction, students have equations to apply, and must figure out when to apply which equation. What ideas do students have about static and kinetic friction?

July 2, 2018

Pedagogy Content
Attending to student ideas
Physics Content
Newton's laws
Instructor Interaction

Lesson Contents (4 MB)Student Handout
Transcript, discussion questions, and problem

(2 MB)Specific Lesson Guide
Facilitator's guide for this lesson

(1 MB)General Facilitator's Guide
Background and best practices

(200 MB)Video
Captioned video


Sample Discussion Prompts

  1. What did you observe in this episode? Talk to your partners about what you saw.

  2. Restate Arden’s question (line 1) in  your own words. What is the issue that her group is concerned about?

  3. What is Bruno’s idea?

  4. Both Arden and Bruno want to consider the possibility that the block is “not moving,” but for different reasons. In what sense is the block “not moving” according to Arden? In what sense is it “not moving” according to Bruno?

  5. Leon says, “Wait. Is this box moving?” What do you think is his purpose in asking this question?

  6. What student ideas about static and kinetic friction are indicated in this episode?

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