The rocket car is propelled along the floor according to the principle stated in Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion. The escaping air Is the action and the movement of the car In the opposite direction is the reaction. The car's wheels reduce friction and provide some stability to the car's motion. A well-designed and constructed car will travel several meters in a straight line across a smooth floor.
Encourage students to design their own cars. Cars can be made long or short, wide or narrow, or even trapezoidal. Wheels can be large or small. If Styrofoam coffee cups are available (retrieved from the waste basket and washed Is preferable), the bottoms can be cut off and used as wheels. Hold car distance trials on the floor. Have students measure and chart the distances each car travels.
Average multiple runs for individual cars to identify the best cars. What makes one car design perform better than another? Are large wheels better than small wheels?
Page Last Modified: 09/08/06 01:00 EDT
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