National Science Teaching Association: How Do NASCAR Race Car Tires Take the Heat? (Part 1: Physical Changes)

Students experience the phenomenon of NASCAR race car tires and brake pads reaching temperatures so high that the brake pads glow red during a race!

Students’ questions about this phenomenon create the need to first investigate how the forces acting on the tires during the race cause the tires’ surfaces to physically change (wearing away of materials at lower temperatures and melting at higher temperatures). Through a short discussion aimed at building understanding, students use data (observations) from their investigation to develop ownership of the science idea of friction and use their understanding of friction to begin to explain the phenomenon presented at the start of the lesson.


Science Topics
Force (Frictional), Physics, Sports
Middle School, Educator
6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade
Descriptions of PDFs

Download PDF

What are you looking for?


National Science Teaching Association

Website URL

Type of Resource

Lesson Plan
PDF File

Assigned Categories