Friction Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:03 What Is Friction?
  • 1:03 Examples of Friction
  • 2:07 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Greta VanBrackle

Greta has eleven years of experience teaching third and fourth grade students in all subject areas.

Friction is a type of force that keeps objects in place or slows them down. This lesson explores friction in greater detail and provides examples of friction in action.

What Is Friction?

Friction is a special kind of force. But what's a force? Forces are pushes or pulls that can change the motion, or movement, of objects. If you pushed or pulled a box of books across the floor, you would be using force to move the box. But there are other forces affecting that box of books besides your pushes or pulls.

Let's say you're trying to push that box from one end of your bedroom to the other end. As you push it, the box will move, but there's also a force acting in the opposite direction of your push. This force, called friction, will stop the box from moving when you stop pushing it.

More or less friction can be produced depending on the surface of the objects. If your bedroom has carpet instead of wood, pushing that box of books will be a very different experience! Moving the box across carpet will result in a lot more friction than moving the box across a slick wood floor. It will be much harder to move the box across carpet because there's a lot of friction between the carpet surface and the box surface.

Examples of Friction

We may not always be thinking about friction, but it's something that affects our everyday lives. Friction can actually be very useful. Think about a box of matches. When people light matches, they rub the matches across the rough surface on the side of the box. This movement creates enough friction to ignite matches.

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