Thursday, February 21, 2013

Go SPEED Racer: Exploring Speed

Last year I wrote a post called Go Speed Racer... it's all about engaging students when beginning a unit on graphing and calculating speed.   

Okay, so you have their attention, but how on earth can you really explore speed...from the fast to the slow or even better... stopped.  How is that graphed?  As I did the engage and watched my students hypothesize about the hare's graph (see link above if completely lost), hardly anyone drew a flat line for his time stopped under the tree.  This lesson hits completely what a stopped object looks like in a graph WITHOUT you telling them.  Isn't that the most fun part!??!  Watching all their little light bulbs go off as they begin to reason the answer to why  things are they way they are?!?!  It's my fave.  

First things first, make some of these...
Number cards counting by two... put on card stock and hot glue a metal washer on the back.  The added weight helps.  A student will drop these on the heel of the walker every 2 seconds. 
Timekeeper Card... he or she starts the timer and counts every 2 seconds.
4 different walker cards.  These kids need to walk a certain way for 20 seconds.
Up close and personal... this card is the one I made a video on.  Yeah... my video is totally NOT HD quality. 
 The last tool you need is a handy dandy trundle wheel.  So cool... the kids think you have new toys for them to play with... it clicks and everything.  And who has 30 meter sticks in their supply closet??? Lucky! Not me. 
so much easier than using 30 meter sticks or a 30m measuring tape
You need a BIG open space.  I would recommend a beautiful sunny day on the sidewalk or bus ramp... but I live in Texas where you just have to wait 10 minutes and the weather will change. NO. LIE.  Today it rained this morning and at lunch... by 1pm there was not a cloud in the crystal clear blue sky.  Ahhh Texas....I digress.  We used the auditorium which worked PERFECTLY. 

I always let each group do a little practice run just to know how to do the activity before doing it "for real".  I made a high quality video of the activity in action here:
Oscar worthy I know.  What you can do with an IPhone 3GS... and if my husband takes my upgrade again.... I will have to retaliate.  I'm thinking of throwing his PS3 Battlefield game out with the trash.  Hmmm...

Once the students have done part one... its obviously time for part two!  hahahaha I just literally LOLed.  Anyway.   Part 2 is all about measuring with the trundle wheel and recording the data on a chart labeled with time(seconds)- counting by 2, and distance(meters)- using decimals (1 meter 23 cm = 1.23m).  Sometimes my kids are so amazed when math or language arts ties in perfectly with science.  It makes me happy.

You can have all 4 walkers "walk this way" or however you want them to... you can even play Aerosmith while doing this activity.... maybe when they are trying to make their graphs... on second thought see if you can find just it in instrumental on Pandora... Aerosmith folk maybe?
  • One walker walked slowly at a constant pace.
  • Another student walked at a quick pace for the entire 20 seconds.
  • Next, a student went slow for 8 seconds, then sped up til 16 seconds and speed walked til 20 sec. 
  • The fourth walker is in the Academy Award video for Action Films above. :)
With a class of 20, every student was able to participate in someway. Love that.   Tomorrow... we GRAPH!!!

Happy Racing!


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