Ready, Set, Go! Third Grade's Racing Car Project
Today, our third graders had a blast racing cars! This was the culminating activity for a project that they have been working on for several weeks. Third grade teacher, Dennis Haupert, has been teaching this project at BFS for the past 15 years. The project is designed to integrate studies across science, math and language arts.
The students started with an E.V. Racer Car kit. They learned all about electricity and circuits, and subsequently wired their car by connecting the motor to the batteries. They were then tasked to design and build the body around the base of the car however they chose. Keeping in mind that the cars would race separately for distance and speed (and also would be tested to pull a trailer with weights), students were encouraged to consider many factors and materials in their designs.
Writing was integrated into the project through an exploration of several styles of poetry, and the students wrote a poem inspired by their car.
The first round of races had each student run their car across the auditorium floor in an area marked off with masking tape, aiming for the longest distance. Next, students ran their car on its own along a wooden track, being timed from the starting line to finish line. Finally, two students at a time raced their cars one against another on neighboring tracks to see which car was the fastest. Through an organized bracket, it was determined that the fastest car was the one decorated with ice cream cones and cookies! Sweet!
After students raced their cars, they applied their mathematical understandings of mean, median, range and mode to interpret the data the whole class collected from their various races.
Next week, the parents of the third graders will be invited to an evening of exploration with hovercrafts, during which, the students will be able to teach their parents the various skills they have honed with their racing cars. Students becoming teachers- awesome!