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Friction: A Dirtmeister’s Science Reporter Activity

In this four-step activity hosted by the “Dirtmeister,” geologist Steve Tomecek, students study friction and how it affects our daily lives.


3–5, 6–8

Activity Type

  • Activities and Games

In the “Friction” learning activity (grades 3–6), part of Scholastic’s Dirtmeister series, students investigate one way that friction works either for or against them as they go about their day, and then report about it with help from science expert Steve Tomecek (the "Dirtmeister"). Along the way, students learn to ask scientific questions, communicate their observations, and construct explanations of natural phenomena.


The four-step activity includes:

  • Investigate the Facts: Students get a tutorial on friction – what it is, and how it works.
  • Observe & Record: Students observe one way that friction affects them in their daily life. Then, they write answers to five questions, including what they could do to increase or decrease the amount of friction they experienced.
  • Report Your Findings: Next, students expand on their writing into a complete report.
  • Read Sample Reports: For inspiration, students can read five examples of what other students wrote, including reports on walking, scrubbing a plate, writing with a pencil, writing on a chalkboard, or brushing your teeth.



Learning Objectives


While participating in the "Friction" interactive activity, students will:

  • Explore, observe, and describe the world around them
  • Understand how forces control events in our world
  • Investigate materials, organisms, and properties of common objects
  • Construct explanations of natural and man-made phenomena
  • Develop the ability to ask scientific questions, investigate aspects of the world around them, and use their observations to construct reasonable explanations for the questions posed
  • Ask questions about objects, organisms, and events in the environment
  • Use data to construct a reasonable explanation
  • Communicate their ideas to others
  • Develop their science knowledge
  • Learn through the inquiry process how to communicate their own investigation

Susan Cheyney

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