Hot Wheels Stopping Distance

Contributor
The Physics Classroom/Tom Henderson
Type Category
Assessment Materials
Types
Assessment Item
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 a worksheet which presents a situation in which Hot Wheels cars are released from various spots along an inclined plane so that their velocity can be measured at the bottom. In addition, the cars are allowed to crash into a small box and then the distance the box and car combination moves is recorded. Data from the experiment is provided and students are to use the results to make predictions and draw conclusions. This would work well as an assessment to measure how well students are able to analyze and interpret data.

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
  • High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

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

Performance Expectations

HS-PS3-1 Create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on explaining the meaning of mathematical expressions used in the model.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to basic algebraic expressions or computations; to systems of two or three components; and to thermal energy, kinetic energy, and/or the energies in gravitational, magnetic, or electric fields.

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The instructor will want to have already taught lessons about energy because this resource assumes a good deal of background knowledge from the students including the Law of Conservation of Energy, gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy, and thermal energy (as the kinetic energy of the car is dissipated due to friction when the car strikes the box at the bottom of the track). A suitable activity that the instructor may want to use with their students before this one is the PhET Skate Park simulation found here: https://phet.colorado.edu/sims/html/energy-skate-park-basics/latest/energy-skate-park-basics_en.html. This simulation would allow students to manipulate the variables presented in this Hot Wheels resource and make them more familiar with the scenario presented in this current resource.

Science and Engineering Practices

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

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This resource does a good job of meeting the practice of analyzing and interpreting data. It could be made an even stronger fit if students were required to collect, analyze, and interpret their own data.

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
Because Conservation of Energy and energy transfer are only implied in this resource and not explicitly stated, the instructor may want to review those principles before assigning this activity. As mentioned earlier, using the Skate Park PhET simulation (https://phet.colorado.edu/sims/html/energy-skate-park-basics/latest/energy-skate-park-basics_en.html) first may help students visualize and better grasp the concepts of this resource.

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
Because Conservation of Energy and energy transfer are only implied in this resource and not explicitly stated, the instructor may want to review those principles before assigning this activity. As mentioned earlier, using the Skate Park PhET simulation (https://phet.colorado.edu/sims/html/energy-skate-park-basics/latest/energy-skate-park-basics_en.html) first may help students visualize and better grasp the concepts of this resource.

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
Neither energy nor cause and effect are explicitly mentioned in this activity so the instructor will need to give their students prior experience with those concepts. In addition, the part of the activity that describes the car crashing into the box and then sliding along the ground involves friction and thermal energy, so the instructor should also give prior lessons about work done by friction as well as thermal energy. The instructor could easily have their students turn this into a kinesthetic activity.

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
Neither energy nor cause and effect are explicitly mentioned in this activity so the instructor will need to give their students prior experience with those concepts. In addition, the part of the activity that describes the car crashing into the box and then sliding along the ground involves friction and thermal energy, so the instructor should also give prior lessons about work done by friction as well as thermal energy. The instructor could easily have their students turn this into a kinesthetic activity.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: A student is able to engage all three dimensions of the NGSS. Students can meet the Practices by using mathematical and computational thinking to answer questions 4 and 5 of the activity. Students need to analyze and interpret data to answer the questions, and furthermore, they use evidence to base their conclusions off of. Students can meet the Disciplinary Core Ideas by using the definitions of energy and conservation of energy as they discover that the starting position of the car on the ramp affects its velocity at the bottom. Likewise, the students use the concepts of the conservation of energy and energy transfer to analyze how the stopping distance of the car depends on its initial velocity at the bottom of the ramp before it hits the box. Finally, by addressing the previous two components, students will also address the Cross Cutting Concepts because they will have already needed to explain how energy is conserved and transferred. In addition, students will address the principle of cause and effect when they discover that a car moves faster at the bottom if it started from a higher height. Likewise, students will also address cause and effect because they will discover that the car moves farther if it has a greater velocity.

  • Instructional Supports: The resource does an adequate job of engaging students in a real world scenario that they have to make sense of. The resource fails to adequately provide guidance to teachers on how to differentiate instruction. This resource could easily be turned into a hands-on activity that could be performed by the students. A teacher could address different learning styles and strengths if this was a kinesthetic activity.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The handout requires students to answer questions which provides observable evidence of their use of the the practice, disciplinary core idea, and cross cutting concept. However, there is no rubric, and no real formative assessment in which an instructor would adapt their teaching to address shortcomings during the activity.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -