Static Friction Prediction

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In this activity (page 2 of PDF under GPS: Kinetic Sculpture Challenge Activity), learners will predict which objects have to overcome the most static friction to slide down a ramp. Learners then test their prediction as well as measure and calculate the ramp’s ratio of rise to run to quantify their results. Relates to the linked video, DragonflyTV GPS: Kinetic Sculpture Challenge.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • objects that slide, not roll, on a ramp, such as: a paperback book; coins; a ceramic mug; a rubber eraser; a poker chip; a six-sided die
  • a shelf or plank to act as a ramp surface, approximately 4 feet long
  • a metric ruler or meter stick
  • a calculator
  • a large protractor (optional)


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
    • Geometry
    • Measurement
      • Rate
    • Number and Operations
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Newton's Laws
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Communicating Results


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:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • DragonflyTV


  • All rights reserved, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc., 2007

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 610429