Physics Friction Lab at Gourley Farm

Student contributors

On Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2019, Kody Wolff, Redbank Valley High school physics teacher, took his physics class to Gourley Farm to conduct a friction lab using sleds. The class goes to the Gourley Farm every year to keep a constant variable (the hill they go down) in the friction lab assignment.

Using a tape measure, the physics students measured 250 feet on the hill. They timed to see how long it took each student to slide down the hill on the same sled. As students were recording data, Wolff realized that there was a difference between last year’s and this year’s results. Some variables that could have created such a change include the weight of the students, how much snow there was, and the sled that they used. The snow was also different this year with a layer of ice on top of the snow. In order to decrease the variables, Wolff has ordered sleds for future friction labs.

Wolff has been doing this lab for three years now and has hopes to continue in years to come, as long as Mother Nature cooperates by providing the snow.

Wolff shared a video of the sledding friction lab with all 9th-grade physical science students to encourage them to take more advanced physics courses in the future.

This lab proves that physics can be a fun, hands-on class.


Makayla Monrean and Ryley Pago are students at Redbank Valley High School and members of The Bark, the school’s journalism/publications group.