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Getting Your Bearings

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Getting Your Bearings

In this activity, learners explore the concept of friction and how ball bearings reduce friction. Learners investigate different uses for ball bearings, how the design has changed over time to incorporate roller bearings, test friction using marbles, and identify the use of ball bearings in everyday items.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Student Resource Sheets
  • Student Worksheets
  • Jar lid (from mayonnaise or similar container)
  • 25 identically sized marbles (larger than depth of lid used)
  • Book
  • Section of carpet or rug
  • 100 pencils (optional)
  • Tape (optional)
  • Rubber bands (optional)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
    • Technology
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Momentum and Velocity
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology
      • Technology and History
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation

Informal Categories

  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, IEEE,


User Lists

This resource is part of these lists:

  • Thumbnail Physics by NSM_Edu on 2013-09-27
  • Thumbnail Physics by dmercier01 on 2014-11-02