|Level: NA||Duration: 2-4 class periods|
|Grade Level: 4-7 ||Author: Nicole Penn (TAG Member)|
|Topics: Acceleration, force, speed, motion|
|Materials: Try This: Engineering Kit, Toy cars with wheels of different sizes, cars of different weights and wheel distances, additional cardboard to change size of wheels, polystyrene, pipe cleaners|
Alternative energy sources can make a vehicle more fuel efficient, save money, and help the environment. The design of a vehicle affects its fuel efficiency, size, weight, and speed.
DescriptionStudents will construct and test their toy cars in a few different ways to discover how size, shape, and design affect the speed and performance of vehicles.
Activity 1: Provide teams with a toy car and have them add a predesigned traditional sail to it. Have students suggest reasons why one car worked better than another (car design) – for example, wheels, size of car, weight, and so forth.
Activity 2: Provide students with different sizes of sails. Students will test the same car with different sails and see how it affects the speed.
Challenge 1: Come up with ways to improve the vehicle so it travels farther in a shorter period. Discuss factors such as wheel size, width of driving train, size of sail, and so on.
Challenge 2: Test the vehicles using an inclined plane to see which will reach the finish line sooner within a set period.
Reflect on real-world connections and suggest reasons why a vehicle's design affects its speed and performance.