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Why do you have to wear tennis shoes to your physical education class? Have you ever worn slippery-soled dress shoes? In this lab, you will observe the differences between the slickness of the bottom of different shoes. When the shoes are dragged across a surface, a frictional force opposes the motion. If the bottom of shoe is slick, you will need less force to pull it across the table because there is less friction. The opposite is also true— if the bottom of the shoe is very sticky, or bumpy, you will need a bigger force to pull it, because it creates a larger frictional force.


In this activity, you will

  • Make observations and predictions about shoes.
  • Measure the force needed to pull different shoes across a surface.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #29 of Elementary Science with Vernier. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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