Teaching Idea – Toy Car Speed

updatedTo introduce (or review) the concept of average speed for physics students, there’s nothing more fun than measuring the speed of toy cars!

Students are provided with a selection of toy cars and then asked to assess average speed of the vehicle. I highly recommend buying a few toys from your nearby “dollar store” – these toys often have strange behaviours and idiosyncrasies that make the task just a little more challenging!

toy_carsStudents are allowed to use any technique they wish, but some choose to use motion sensors to track the amount of ground their toys cover. For example, here is some motion sensor data illustrating toy cars accelerating away from the sensor:


If you’re looking for an example of a formal lab for this type of activity, try clicking here to download ScienceMan’s version. This activity is a great excuse to go toy shopping, so go have some fun!

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