Mathematics/Physics
The Great Tin Race
Bernina
L. Norton 
Abbott
School 
3927
W. Fillmore St. 
3630
S. Wells St. 
CHICAGO
IL 606244206 
CHICAGO
IL 60609 
(773)
4190516 
(773) 5351660 
Objective(s):
Upon
completion of this lesson, 6^{th}8^{th} grade students will be
able to:
Describe
and recognize motion
Understand
what is a reference point
Describe
distance in reference to units of measurement
Calculate
speed
Calculate
average speed
Understand
the relationship between distance and time (speed= distance/ time)
Graph
data
Use
data to make hypotheses
Materials:
·
Various
sizes of tin cans with the tops and bottoms removed (open ends)
·
Two
plastic lids per tin can
·
Rubber
bands
·
Paper
clips
·
Pencils
·
Meter
sticks
·
Measuring
tape (inches)
·
Masking
tape
·
Calculators
(optional)
·
Timers
Strategy:
The
strategies devised to carry out my objectives are as follows:
·
Lead
inquiry discussion about motion concepts
o Defining motion
o Recognizing motion
o Reference point
o Describing distance
o Calculating speed
o Average speed
·
Distribute
tin racer blueprint sheets, racer data sheets, and speed graphs. (Enlarge one
of the speed graphs to record the groups’ average speed at 2 m)
·
Allow
students time to construct tin racers, raceway and complete racer data sheets.
Note: To complete racer data sheets, the following information is
needed:
o Distance, time, and speed
for three trials
o Average speed
·
Have
each group place on the chart the data of their racer (distance vs. time).
·
Ask
students to make predictions based on the group data, i.e. which racer will be
the fastest.
·
Conduct
the tin race (construct a raceway at 3 meters). Record the fastest
racers/speed.
·
Compare
the predictions with the actual results.
·
Discuss
ways to improve the speed of the racers.
·
If
time allows, test those improvements, calculate the speed, and record.
Performance Assessment:
Were
the students able to follow the blue prints to construct the racers?
Were
the students able to measure the distance and time of the racers?
Were
the students able to calculate the speed of the racers for each trial?
Were
the students able to calculate the average speed at 1 m? At 2 m?
Were
the students able to construct motion graphs of their racer’s speed?
Were
the students able to make predictions based on the group data?
Were
the students able to think of ways to improve their racers?
Conclusions:
Through
this exercise, students are able to follow directions to construct both the
racers and the raceway. Students use
measurement skills to conduct the raceway.
Timers allow students to approximate the time. Calculating the speed over several trials provides adequate
practice of measuring distance, time and calculating speed. The students record data using a chart and
line graph. Predictions were made based on the data presented by the
group. It does take time for the
students to construct racers that are durable and effective. This lesson can be presented in two
sessions: the first to construct the racers and the second to calculate the
speed, record data, make predictions and conduct the final race.
References:
Kahan,
Peter. Science Explorer: Motion, Forces and Energy. Prentice
Hall: 2000.
Group Color:
____________________________
Racer’s Name:
___________________________
Trial 
Distance 
Time 
Speed (Distance/Time) 
1 
1 m 


2 
1 m 


3 
1 m 


Totals 


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
1 
2 m 


2 
2 m 


3 
2 m 


Totals 


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 
Average
speed at 1 m= Total distance
= ___________________
Total
time
Average
speed at 2 m= Total distance
= ___________________ (This data will be recorded
Total
time on
the large group chart)
1.
Cut
off the bottom of an empty coffee can with a can opener.
(This part was done for you!
I even filed the metal edges with sandpaper.)
2.
Use
scissors to punch a hole in the center of both coffee can lids. The holes must be just large enough for a
rubber band to pass through.
3.
Push
one end of a rubber band (a thick one) through one of the holes and hook it
around a paper clip on the outside of the lid.
Tape the paper clip in place, over the hole, so that the rubber band
cannot pull through the hole. Place the
lid with the rubber band on the can.
4.
Reach
into the can and grab the rubber band (be careful of the edges).
5.
Push
the free end of the rubber band through the hole in the other lid from the
inside. Slip the end of the rubber band
through a bead so that the bead is on the outside of the lid.
6.
Slide
a pencil through the part of the rubber band that is on the far end of the bead
from the can, so that the pencil stops the rubber band from pulling back
through the bead and the lid.
7.
Adjust
the position of the pencil so that the end of it extends past the edge of the
can.
Note: If it is too short,
get a longer pencil!
8.
Wind
up the pencil until it comes back to you freely and put the can on the
floor. Let go!
To construct the raceway:
Use masking tape to mark your reference point.
Measure 1 meter from the reference point and use masking tape to mark it. Measure 2 meters from the reference point and use masking tape to mark the end point.
Note: Be sure to record the distance and time traveled on the racer data sheet.
Group __________________________________
I S T A N C E (m)
Motion Graph
D
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