National Science Teaching Association: Why Are NASCAR Crashes So Dangerous?

Through video clips, students experience crashes (between cars and between cars and the track wall) that occurred during NASCAR races, which raises this question: How do speed and mass (weight) affect the amount of damage to a race car in a collision?

Students use a computer simulation to collect collision data, then look for patterns in these data to help determine if mass and/or speed affect the amount of damage cars sustain in a collision. Students also use evidence to support a claim about which of the two factors—mass (weight) or speed—causes more damage to the car.

Science Topics
Physics, Speed & Velocity, Sports
Middle School, Educator
6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade
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