Zoom In, Zoom Out

Black bobbles

Zoom in

Zoom out

Classroom view

Activity overview

15 mins
Ages 9 – 11

Science topics:


Take a closer look at this object by zooming in and out to see it differently. Can your class use their reasoning skills to work out what it is?

Run the activity

You will be zooming in and out of the image above – starting very close and stepping back slowly.

1. Start by asking everyone:

  • What do they think the image is and why?
  • What does the image remind them of and why?

2. Every time you zoom out, ask the class:

  • Can they describe the colours, shapes and textures?
  • What do they think the image is now – have they changed their minds?

Background science

Friction is a force that occurs when surfaces are in contact and moving against each other. It’s this friction between tyres and the road that stops you slipping around when you're on a bike, in a car or on a bus. The repeated friction between tyre and road surface causes the tread (the bit that makes contact with the ground) on the tyre to wear down, if you look closely you’ll see evidence of this in the tyre image as you zoom out.

Take it further

This BBC clip explains how friction occurs and suggests ideas for looking at surfaces where friction would be useful, like the soles of your shoes. Encourage your class to think more about the different properties of tyres. This tyre is very thin, enabling the rider to go very fast. Can they think of any similarities and differences between this tyre and the tyres on their bikes, or on a car or bus? How are they different?

Explore some more science around friction and cycling with our What If? Brakes were automatic activity.

Image credit: Wellcome