Kids and parents alike have enjoyed roller-skating for fun and exercise for hundreds of years now. Today, many skaters prefer modern inline skates, which feature wheels in a row along a blade like an ice skate.

Traditional roller skates, on the other hand, have four wheels on each foot arranged in a sort of square, which makes balancing a little easier.

Both traditional and inline skates rely on bearings that make the wheels turn freely and easily. Bearings allow a skater to take turns, corners and curves while skating. Without bearings, turning a corner would be very difficult.

When an object slides across a surface, it produces friction. Try rubbing your palms together, pushing slightly as you move your hands. The resistance you feel is friction.

Friction slows an object down. If you hold a ball in your hands and drag it across the floor, friction between the floor and the ball will slow its movement.

If you roll the ball, however, the ball will move across the floor quite easily. Objects tend to roll more easily than they slide, because rolling creates less friction.

Roller skate bearings reduce friction in the same way, allowing a skater to glide smoothly around corners with little effort. Bearings are made to withstand high pressure and last for millions of revolutions, which means you can keep on rolling for years to come!


4 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (5 votes, avg. 3.60 out of 5)
    • Yikes! That must have been scary for you, firefly! We’re sorry you broke your ankle. Are there other sports you like to participate in besides roller skating? :-)

  1. Even though I don’t roller skate very often, it is fun. I think of roller skates as shoes with wheels on the bottoms.

    • We think roller skating is SO MUCH fun, too, Kailee! We like to skate around Wonderopolis on sunny days! :-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • Wonderopolis on Facebook
  • Wonderopolis on Pinterest
  • Print

Have you ever wondered…

  • How do roller skates work?
  • What’s the difference between inline skates and traditional roller skates?
  • What is friction?

Wonder Gallery

Wonder #105- Rollerskate Static Image2Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Shall we dance? Roller skaters have been enjoying the “Hokey Pokey” dance at roller rinks for years. You don’t need to dance on four wheels to enjoy the fun.

Just follow the directions of the lyrics. You’ll be rockin’ and rollin’ in no time.


Still Wondering

After learning a little bit about wheels today, visit Science NetLinks to study the motion of objects with its Making Objects Move lesson.


Wonder Categories/Tags

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow we’ll celebrate the birthday of an inspirational American whose famous dream changed America.

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.