Sixth-Grade Students Learn about Gravity and Kinetic Energy through Roadster Races Lab
Lansing Middle School students in Ms. Holyfield's and Ms. Thomas's sixth-grade Science class are starting a new unit - Gravity and Kinetic Energy. Their first focus is determining "What is speed?" Students are learning this through examining speed in a Roadster Races lab. In this lab activity, students observe a small car's speed. This lab is designed to have five different tracks. For each track, students measure the distance of the track itself. Then, students determine the time it took the car to travel the distance of the track and record their data. Students then use distance/time measurements to calculate the car's speed. After the races have ended and the speeds have been calculated, students graph the average speed for each track using different colors to differentiate between tracks.
"This year, we decided to change things up when introducing our first focus, "What is speed?" in order to make the lesson more engaging for students," said Science Teacher Amanda Thomas. "We were a little nervous at first trying something new, but the lab exceeded our expectations. Students worked well in their groups, each having a job to complete. As we walked around and observed, all students were actively engaged and were excited to participate."
The sixth-grade students thoroughly enjoyed the lab:
"I liked working together and sharing the jobs, so everyone got a turn." - Tesla Bond
"I liked measuring how quickly the car would go down the track." - Khaidan Williams Gallow
"I liked the whole thing. My favorite part was being able to test how long it took the cars to go from one end of the track to the other." - Jeremiah Horvath
"I liked when we pushed the car fast enough that it would go off of the track." - Ellie Lourentzos
"It was so much fun! It was fun to test the speed of the hot wheels."
"It was "Vroom Vroom, Fun!"
"It was awesome! Using the cars was fun, but calculating the numbers and being the recorder in the group was my favorite part."
The innovative approach taken by Ms. Holyfield and Ms. Thomas in implementing this Roadster Races lab showcases their dedication to fostering an interactive learning environment, enriching the educational experience for our Lansing Middle School students.