Contributed by: Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)
Description:
Students investigate speed as an important variable regarding force
of an impact. Students roll a car down a ramp and into a block of
wood. The distance the car travels, the time until impact and the
distance the block moves are recorded. The speed of the car is calculated
by dividing the distance by the time until impact. The experiment
is performed twice and averaged for the two.
Students are asked to design and perform a study to demonstrate
the effect of speed on the collision and record the data and procedure.
They are then asked to draw conclusions on how speed relates to
impact. They are also asked to discuss whether their data gives
an accurate reflection of the relationship between speed and impact
and to justify their answer.
This task is designed to take students approximately 40 to 50
minutes to complete.
Overall Task Content Area:

 Physical Science
Specific Knowledge Areas:

 Motions and forces
Performance Expertations:
 conducting investigations
 using equipment
 gathering, organizing, and representing data
 formulating conclusions from investigational data
 applying scientific principles to develop explanations and solve
new problems
National Science Education Standards:
12 B PS 4: Motions and Forces: Grades 912
4.1 Objects change their motion only when a net force is applied.
Laws of motion are used to calculate precisely the effects of forces
on the motion of objects. The magnitude of the change in motion can
be calculated using the relatio12ip F=ma, which is independent of
the nature of the force. Whenever one object exerts force on another,
a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction is exerted on
the first object.
12 A SI 1: Ability to do scientific inquiry: Grades
912
1.2 Design and conduct scientific investigations. Designing
and conducting a scientific investigation requires introduction
to the major concepts in the area being investigated, proper equipment,
safety precautions, assistance with methodological problems, recommendations
for use of technologies, clarification of ideas that guide the inquiry,
and scientific knowledge obtained from sources other than the actual
investigation. The investigation may also require student clarification
of the question, method, controls, and variables; student organization
and display of data; student revision of methods and explanations;
and a public presentation of the results with a critical response
from peers. Regardless of the scientific investigation performed,
students must use evidence, apply logic, and construct an argument
for their proposed explanations.
1.4 Formulate and revise scientific explanations and
models using logic and evidence. Student inquiries should culminate
in formulating an explanation or model. Models should be physical,
conceptual, and mathematical. In the process of answering the questions,
the students should engage in discussions and arguments that result
in the revision of their explanations. These discussions should
be based on scientific knowledge, the use of logic, and evidence
from their investigation.
(Use the "hot" link on the PALS home page
to check the full text of related National Science Education Standards,
if desired.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:
NO3: Compute fluently and make reasonable
estimates:
Grades 912 n. develop fluency in operations with real numbers,
vectors, and matrices, using mental computation or paperandpencil
calculations for simple cases and technology for morecomplicated
cases
Grades 912 o. judge the reasonableness of numerical computations
and their results
AL3: Use mathematical models to represent
and understand quantitative relationships:
Grades 912 f. draw reasonable conclusions about a situation
being modeled
DAP1: Formulate questions that can be addressed
with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer
them:
Grades 912 m. understand histograms, parallel box plots,
and scatter plots and use them to display data
PS2: Solve problems that arise in mathematics
and in other contexts:
Grades 912
RP3: Develop and evaluate mathematical arguments and
proofs:
Grades 912
CNX3: Recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside
of mathematics:
Grades 912
General Instructions to the Teacher:
This task is designed to take students approximately 4050 minutes
to complete.
Students will be working in groups of 46 for the experiment/activity
part of this exercise. Each student must record the information
in his or her own booklet (test papers). Allow from 20 to 25 minutes
to complete the group work, and a similar time period for students
to do their individual answers to the test questions.
Students should be ready to work as soon as the period begins.
Group assignments should be made in advance. The materials should
be set out at each lab station, if possible. A central supply area,
if needed, should be easily accessible. All supplies should be clearly
labeled.
Materials:
At this station students should have:

 Track
Toy car
Wooden block
Ramp
Books
Calculator
Stopwatch
Meter stick or ruler
Scissors
Masking tape
Pen or pencil
Advance Preparation:
The ramps should be at least 75 cm long. Almost anything will work
as a ramp as long as the material is rigid. Some suggestions for ramps
would include book shelves, wood boards, and strips of rigid cardboard.
What you use is up to you. Make sure that the ramps are available
prior to your students beginning this experiment.
If you do not have stopwatches, check with your students the day
before the event to see how many of them have watches with a stopwatch
function. Please ask them to bring their watches and calculators
to class.
Safety:
 Be careful.
 Teachers and students should always exercise appropriate safety
precautions and utilize appropriate laboratory safety procedures
and equipment when working on science performance tasks.
