Speedometry (Hot Wheels)

Contributor
USC Rossier School of Education Mattel Children's Foundation
Type Category
Assessment Materials Instructional Materials
Types
Activity , Experiment/Lab Activity , Lesson/Lesson Plan , Unit
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This resource is part of a two unit curriculum designed for fourth-graders using the 5E Instructional Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate) to support students as they investigate the effect that height and other variables have on energy while using Hot Wheels cars and tracks. This review will focus on Unit 1 Speed Ramps, as "students deepen their ability to accurately describe changes in energy, to conduct an experiment using variables as research, and use measurement to describe an event". Students will use what they have learned about potential and kinetic energy to design a racecourse that keeps the car moving as long and as far as possible. Although the terms potential and kinetic energy are not introduced in NGSS until middle school, elementary students should be able to express how the position of the car affects the motion.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 4
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

3-5-ETS1-1 Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students will use what they have learned about potential and kinetic energy to design a racecourse that keeps the car moving as long and as far as possible without pushing or touching it. Guiding questions are suggested throughout: How can you change your design to give your cars more energy to go farther? How does the height of your track effect the distance?

4-PS3-1 Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include quantitative measures of changes in the speed of an object or on any precise or quantitative definition of energy.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students are introduced to the terms potential and kinetic energy after they have time to explore and experiment with their ramps and cars. Through these experiments they are able to explain that as they increased the number of books, they increased the potential energy, which increased the distance the car traveled. Examples of potential and kinetic energy with simplified pictures are included for understanding.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
To more fully align this resource to this practice it is suggested the teacher use the initial exploration of the cars and ramps to have students generate questions that can be investigated. Through suggested questioning and experimentation students analyze what happens to their race car distance when the ramp is made higher. The evidence will reveal patterns in the data by which discussions about cause and effect relationships can be based. Outcomes of trials are logged into students journals with evidence and reasoning of what caused what to happen.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This resource explicitly addresses CCSS 4.MD as students will use measurement to quantify the amount of kinetic energy that is propelling the car. Students will then apply logical reasoning by making reasonable mathematical estimates. As suggested, students could draw pictures and label the car with potential energy at the top of the ramp and and label a released car that is moving down the ramp as kinetic energy that moves the car. Students will be logging the effects of their height trials in their journal. Encourage the students to use the data they are collecting to make sense of the energy the car has at different stages.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students should be given time to test and redesign their race course changing heights to best meet the criteria of the car going as far and fast as it can.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Guiding questions are included for students to discuss with their groups as they analyze the energy their cars have: What in your experiment caused the energy to increase or decrease? How do you know the energy increased or decreased? If you didn’t change the energy, what do you think happened?

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
When the car is at a higher elevation, it has gravitational potential energy at the top of the ramp because the force of gravity is going to pull it down the hill.If the students do not push or touch their car, what will make it move? What are some ways you discovered to give a Hot Wheels car more or less energy? What happened as a result? How did the engineers change the energy the car possessed from the early video clip? It is suggested to implement Unit 2 to enable students to more fully understand how energy can be transferred between objects.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students will be looking at their data for to find the effects of the distance the car traveled as the height of the ramp increased. What kind of pattern are you seeing? It is suggested to discuss with the students the importance of consistent data in each experiment (use the same car, the same size text books) as this would enable the students to identify the cause and effect relationship in the data more clearly.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This resource engages students in performances that integrate the three dimensions of the NGSS as well as exposes students to real world problem solving with grade appropriate connections to the Common Core Math and ELA standards. Students are given the opportunity to engage with the science phenomena and use what they learned to design their own race track with specific criteria and constraints. Each lesson targets the performance expectations and builds on previous lessons as students expand their prior knowledge. It is strongly recommended that students should be given opportunities to wonder and ask questions themselves that could drive the investigations.

  • Instructional Supports: Strategies to link students understanding of each lesson is included to support teachers. Suggestions are included to provide guidance to support differentiated instruction. Vocabulary is tiered and considerations for English Language Learners are addressed. Each lesson gradually adjusts support over time for students to make sense of the phenomena.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Various formative assessments are embedded throughout the lessons as well as assessment tools, presentation checklists for students and a rubric for teachers which can be found in the Appendix. Group Discussion Observation Recording Worksheet and Guide are included for students to record and reflect on ways to improve their experiment explanation.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not include an interactive technological component.