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Fast Cars

Viewing Ideas

Before Watching

  1. Before class, collect pictures of a variety of cars from automobile advertisements. Post the pictures on the board. Before they watch the program, ask the students to look at the pictures and think about the features of various auto designs. Which cars seem designed to go fast. What design features seem to be related to speed? As they watch the program, ask students to look for similarities and differences between the designs of consumer cars and racing cars.

  2. Although the cars used in the Indianapolis 500 are the result of advanced engineering and technology, this program emphasizes the importance of "the human factor" in winning the race. While they watch, have students be alert to the importance of the drivers' observations and intuitive reactions during the testing process.

After Watching

  1. Conduct a soup race with your class. Collect several different flavors of canned soup (some with noodles, some with rice, some clear broths, and so forth). To make the most accurate comparisons, all the cans should be of the same size. You will also need a stopwatch and a long flat ramp surface, approximately four feet long and at least a foot wide (a playground slide is ideal, although any long board will do).

  2. Divide the class into teams. Give each team at least three cans containing different kinds of soup. Ask the students to predict which cans will be the fastest. After they have made their predictions, have each group conduct two or more trials with their cans to see which cans are fastest. Each group will then enter its fastest can in the final round. Compare the entrants in the final round. (The ingredients in some soup will "roll" differently than other types, but the students can determine this through observations.) Further experiments can be done with cans of fruit, vegetables, soda, potato sticks, and other products.

Teacher's Guide
Fast Cars

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