Position and Motion: Hot Wheels

By Selma Walsh on Sep 27, 2016

This hands-on, participatory science activity teaches students who are blind and visually impaired about the effect of position and motion using toy race cars and a race track.

Preparation:

Review:

Technology is any thing humans/people make to solve a problem or make life easier.  Engineers are scientists who use science to come up with technology to solve problems.  Engineers use the “Design Process” to solve problems.

The engineering design process

Explain:  

We will use the design process to think like an Engineer.  We will use what we know about “forces” like pushes and pulls, gravity and friction to move “Hot Wheels” cars.
 

Materials

  • “Measuring Box” (Large boot box with 3 in. slits located every 2 in. and up to 16 in.)
  • 4 Hot Wheels tracks and connecters
  • 1 Hot Wheels loop assembly
  • 3 Hot Wheels cars
  • Box with two holes lined up to create a tunnel
  • 1 large, medium or small bucket (size will determine the difficulty of the task)
 

Procedure

  • Introduce each problem one at a time, and only the materials available to solve that problem.
  • Allow each student to complete multiple trials and attempts to solve any problems that need improvement.
  • Use guided questions such as “Was the bucket too close or too far away?”  “What could you do to the bucket?”  “How can you make the car go farther?”  “Should we raise the track or lower the track to make the car travel further?”  

Problem #1:  

  • How can a car travel 4 ft. across a tabletop and drop INTO a bucket?
  • Materials:  4 tracks connected, bucket, measuring box  
Procedure:
  1. Place the end of the 4 ft. track into the 2 in. slot of the measuring box. 
  2. Place the car on the track at the top of the ramp.
  3. Observe the distance and position of the car.
  4. Use guided questions to encourage the student to raise the track higher
  5. Use guided questions to encourage the student to move the bucket as needed.

Problem #2:

  • How can a car travel 4 ft. across a tabletop and THROUGH a box (tunnel) and into a bucket?
  • Materials:  4 tracks connected, bucket, box with holes, measuring box

Procedure:

Same as problem #1, with the track going THROUGH the tunnel at the end of the track

Problem #3:

  • How can a car travel 4 ft. across a tabletop and go OVER a box and into a bucket?
  • Materials:  Same as problem #2

Procedure:  

Same as problem #1, with the track going OVER the box

Problem #4:  

  • How can a car travel 4 ft. across a tabletop and AROUND a loop and into a bucket?
  • Materials:  4 tracks and connecters, Hot Wheels Loop assembly, measuring box, bucket (may need to tape down the loop assembly).

Procedure:

Same as problem #1, with the track attached to the loop assembly

 
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