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Super Troopers Month of Science

6 February 2020

This month in primary schools around Ireland, children are being invited to investigate the science behind simple questions that interest and excite them for Science Blast 2020. Here at Super Troopers with Laya Healthcare, we love exploring the science involved in physical activity, wellbeing, and nutrition. To help your class or family get involved, we have come up with some fun ideas about how you can investigate movement and how the science of friction helps!

Friction always slows a moving object down. For example, when you walk or run, friction occurs between the soles of your shoes and the ground, which most of us never even think about!


Before you start investigating, ask your Super Troopers the following questions:

  • Why do you think friction is useful for moving?
  • What would happen if we didn’t have friction when moving?
  • What do you think are the most difficult surfaces to walk or run on?


Ask your children to jog on concrete and then on grass. Which is easier to travel on?


If you live near the beach, ask your children to predict if the sand will be easy or difficult to run on. Which type of sand will cause more fiction, wet or dry?


Set up a small challenge with your children:

  1. Measure out 100 metres (on concrete, grass and sand) and mark start and finish points.
  2. Ask your children to predict which surface they think they will travel across quickest and slowest.
  3. Time your children jogging across each surface.
  4. Ask your children to compare the results – which surface did they travel across the fastest/slowest? Did the results match their predictions?


The amount of friction created depends on the materials from which the two surfaces are made. The rougher the surface, the more friction is produced.

  • Can you think of a surface that causes very little friction?
  • Can you think of some winter sports/activities where there is very little friction?
  • What type of footwear gives you the best grip?
  • What do you think would happen if you tried to run on wooden floors wearing socks?


Friction Facts!

  • Friction can be a useful force because it prevents our shoes slipping on the ground when we run or walk, and it stops car tyres from skidding on the road. Friction between the brakes and wheels help bikes and cars to slow down.
  • When running, friction give you a better and more efficient way to turn your energy into speed.
  • Ice causes very little friction, which is why it is easy to slip on an icy day. This is a good thing for winter sports such as ice skating, skiing, and sledding.
  • Fluid friction is used a lot in water parks so we can slide smoothly and fast down giant slides.


Why not think of more nutrition or wellbeing questions of your own and challenge your Super Troopers to investigate the science behind it? E.g. Why is going to bed and sleeping so important for our wellbeing? How does the food we eat effect our energy levels or our mood?


To learn more about Science Blast delivered by the RDS and all the exciting research questions being explored by primary schools in Ireland, visit