Department of Mathematics Education

EMAT 6700, J. Wilson



Rate and Distance

J. Matt Tumlin



Students will measure the time required for battery-powered cars to travel a measured distance, and calculate the speed of the cars.Based on the comparisons, a winner of the race will be predicted.An actual race will test the validity of the prediction.


To motivate students, discuss how speed can be measured in a car.How would you measure your speed if the speedometer were broken?Next, discuss formulas, rearranging formulas, rounding, and averaging.Adjust the distances for your races, if necessary.





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Place a 1-foot piece of tape on the floor as a starting line.Measure 15 feet and place another 1-foot piece of tape for a finish line.Form a team to work with each car.Each team should measure the time required for its car to go from the starting line to the finish line.Write this time on a sheet of data paper.Repeat and record the measurements for a total of five trial runs for each car.Use an appropriate formula to calculate the speed of the car for each trial run in feet per second (ft/sec).Round each answer to the nearest hundredth of a foot per second.Calculate the average speed of the car for the five trial runs to the nearest hundredth of a ft/sec.When all groups have finished recording results, compare the average speeds and predict which teamís car will win a race.Measure a distance of 25 feet.Race the cars over the 25-foot distance.Record which cars take the first three places.How do the results of the race compare with the predictions made?



This problem has many aspects you can go into, data measurement, substitution, and evaluation of formulas, and use of technology.It also has many entry and exit points.



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