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Investigating Toy Cars

In this worksheet students are involved in an investigation of the forces on toy cars and have to use their investigative skills to help answer the questions.

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Forces and Magnets

Curriculum subtopic:  Movement on Different Surfaces

Difficulty level:  

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QUESTION 1 of 10

Mrs. Bates's science class are investigating forces. They have been given a variety of investigations to carry out and you are going to join a group finding out about the forces on toy cars. They want to see which of their cars travels the furthest on a flat surface.

 

 

They push each their three cars along the surface and then they measure how far they travelled.

When they have finished they draw a block graph of their results. Here it is:

 

Here's their graph again:

 

 

They decided that Car 1 was the best car of the three because it travelled furthest.

Why was their investigation NOT a fair test?

Car 1 was the first car to be pushed

they only did the test once

they only tested three cars

The group also tested their cars on different surfaces to see which one they went furthest on.

Which of these three surfaces do you think the cars travelled furthest on?

thick carpet

shiny floor

thin carpet

Why is it important that each car is pushed about the same amount?

so they don't damage the cars

to make it a fair test

to protect the floor

The students decide that it's too hard to give each car exactly the same amount of push (force).

They discuss how to make sure each car has an equal chance to travel the same distance, so they decide to try using a ramp instead:

 

 

They want to make it a fair test, so how should they push the cars now?

very gently so they stay on the ramp

very hard so they go a long way along the floor

not push at all but just let them run down the ramp

Which of these will NOT make a difference to the distance a car travels from the bottom of the ramp?

the surface of the ramp

the height of the ramp

how far up the ramp the car starts

the temperature of the room

Two of the cars that the students tested were a red car and a blue car. Here is a picture of how they tested these two cars:

 

 

Looking at the picture, why do you think that this is NOT a fair test?

the cars are different colours

the blue car started first

the red car started nearer the top than the blue car

Finish this worksheet by making a PREDICTION.

 

I predict that a car will go furthest when......

the ramp is at a steep angle

the ramp is at a gentle angle

it won't make much difference

  • Question 1

Here's their graph again:

 

 

They decided that Car 1 was the best car of the three because it travelled furthest.

Why was their investigation NOT a fair test?

CORRECT ANSWER
they only did the test once
EDDIE SAYS
The group took three cars and pushed them across the surface and measured how far they went. That's not a fair test because they only did it once. What if they pushed one car a little harder than another (which they probably did)? They need to push each car several times, measuring each one - then they'll have a better result.
  • Question 2

The group also tested their cars on different surfaces to see which one they went furthest on.

Which of these three surfaces do you think the cars travelled furthest on?

CORRECT ANSWER
shiny floor
EDDIE SAYS
The more slippery (or shiny) the surface, the further the car will go. That's because the force holding the car back, and slowing it down, is small. That force is a much bigger force with the carpets, which is much harder for the car to push against.
  • Question 3

Why is it important that each car is pushed about the same amount?

CORRECT ANSWER
to make it a fair test
EDDIE SAYS
Since they want to find out which car travels the furthest WITH THE SAME PUSH, it's important to make it a fair test by trying to push each one the same amount every time they do the test. Mind you, that's not very easy!
  • Question 4

The students decide that it's too hard to give each car exactly the same amount of push (force).

They discuss how to make sure each car has an equal chance to travel the same distance, so they decide to try using a ramp instead:

 

 

They want to make it a fair test, so how should they push the cars now?

CORRECT ANSWER
not push at all but just let them run down the ramp
EDDIE SAYS
The point of using a ramp is that they DON'T have to push them at all - pushing's a problem as they don't know if it's the same push for each car. By letting each car go from the top of the ramp, each car has the same chance to go the same distance. It's a much fairer way of doing the test, so you know that any differences in how far they go is down to THE CAR, rather than how much they were pushed.
  • Question 5

Which of these will NOT make a difference to the distance a car travels from the bottom of the ramp?

CORRECT ANSWER
the temperature of the room
EDDIE SAYS
The higher the ramp, the further the car will go. The more slippery the ramp's surface, the further the car will go. The further up the ramp the car starts, the further it will go. So the only thing that won't make a difference is how warm the room is.
  • Question 6

Two of the cars that the students tested were a red car and a blue car. Here is a picture of how they tested these two cars:

 

 

Looking at the picture, why do you think that this is NOT a fair test?

CORRECT ANSWER
the red car started nearer the top than the blue car
EDDIE SAYS
How far the car goes doesn't depend on what colour it is, or even on whether one started before the other. However, you can see from the picture that the blue car started halfway down the ramp, so it won't go as far as if it had started as high up as the red car - that's not a fair test.
  • Question 7

Finish this worksheet by making a PREDICTION.

 

I predict that a car will go furthest when......

CORRECT ANSWER
the ramp is at a steep angle
EDDIE SAYS
The higher the angle, the faster the car will be going when it reaches the bottom. That means with a ramp at a steep (high) angle the car will go further because it is going faster. That means that with a steeper angle, there is a bigger FORCE on the car, making it go faster and further.
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