Odyssey of the Mind Curriculum Activity: Up to Speed

Objective: Students will learn about vehicles, velocity, angles, and energy.
Students will learn:
measuring rate and angles energy sources
finding variables modes of transportation
Prep Time
2 hours

-- Class
-- Groups

--Tape measure
--Art supplies
Explain to the class that "daredevils" drive motorcycles, cars, bikes, etc. to jump across very wide gaps.

Divide the class into groups of three or four and give each group materials to build an adjustable ramp. Ask them to bring to class any small vehicle that has a power source. Have each group experiment with its vehicle and ramp to determine the effects of altering velocity, ramp angle, and vehicle weight. They should record the parameters of each test run and formulate a chart that predicts a jump given only a vehicle's velocity and weight and the ramp angle. Give the students tape, a tape measure, and a stopwatch so they are able to calculate the speed of the vehicle.

Ask the groups to test prediction accuracy of the chart, using a different vehicle for testing. Each group is to present its findings to the class and suggest how to improve the accuracy of the chart.

Hold a class discussion about energy, and brainstorm benefits and drawbacks for each type of energy. Challenge the groups to substitute a new energy source to propel the vehicle it used when testing the accuracy of the chart. The groups should demonstrate how their altered vehicle functions while explaining the new source of energy and how it differs from the original.

Ask students to select a mode of transportation and research its history. Each student is to make a visual representation that shows the stages of the evolution of the method and how each new stage improved its efficiency.

Hold a discussion of how efficiency in transportation could be improved even further and how it would impact our society, for example, What would be the effect of more people traveling greater distances in shorter amounts of time.

Ask students to project what transportation will be like in the future. Have them create a realistic timeline for transportation beginning in the year 1800 up to the year 2105. Encourage them to be as creative as they can, while maintaining a logical procession of events. Display the timeline for the entire school to see.