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Keywords: scale model car making, physics, English & Meteric units of mearsurement, testing aerodynamics, JUNIOR ENGINEERING
Subject(s): Technology, Writing, Reading, Spelling, Grammar, Science, Math, Physics
Grades 6 through 8
School: Lakes Middle School, Coeur D Alene, ID
Planned By: Ron Harrelson
Original Author: Ron Harrelson, Coeur D Alene
• The student will learn the conversion of Standard English measurement to the Metric system.

• Using the Car Builder software students will learn the basics of car design. They will determine car aerodynamics and how the effects of aerodynamics will influence drag coefficient (a number indicating degree of change, as in expansion by friction), and also racing capability.

• The student will learn the Cartesian coordinate system when learning computer aided drawing and drafting within Dragster Designer. CADD also teaches to the spatial analyses of numbers (represented on the screen as points or lines) as the student must use this reference point or line in relationship to where the vertex is located. Zooming, editing, scaling, grid spacing, dimensioning, layering, entering numbers and text, rotating, modifying, panning, and the geometric storing of data are also learned within this software.

• This unit of study lends itself well to allowing the student to express him or her self with creativity. At the same time the student will learn how to work in a team setting, and solve problems.

• Students will learn about speed and distance ratio, as well as learning the concept of dimensional analysis by converting centimeters per second into kilometers per hour. Also, included is a math formula that converts the scale speed to real car size speed.

• The student will learn the basics of car design, motion, forces, speed, distance, acceleration, air resistance, friction, and transfer of energy.

• The student will learn about the physical properties of wood. Such as, why the car is laid out lengthwise in alignment with the grain, why the axle holes are drilled (perpendicular to the grain) exactly .95 centimeters above the bottom of the car, and why the launch hole is precisely drilled into the end grain 1.9 centimeter with a 1.9 centimeter drill bit. Grain direction is another important factor that the student will learn prior to sanding. The physical characteristics of lacquer paint come into play too. The student will learn that lacquer paint is desirable in this situation due to it dries quickly, lends itself to being hand rubbed with extra fine steel wool nicely between coats, and chemically bonds with the coat of dried lacquer below.

• Students will learn general Shop safety, specific safety on each different type hand tool, and power tool used in the construction of their vehicle.

• The student will learn how to shape their dragster into the same shape they found to be aerodynamically efficient during the design stage. Another important part of the fabrication process students will learn will be the importance of starting with course abrasives and work sequentially towards finer abrasives.

• The wind tunnel will increase learning by enabling the student to learn Bernoulli’s Principle and it will help to confirm the application of Newton’s Third Law. The knowledge of induced lift and dynamic lift by observing and recording the forces involved to produce total lift can be more easily understood by using this format of learning. Team learning will be improved by making it possible to test the principles aerodynamics by mounting their handy-work in the tunnel. Therefore, each team will learn the affects of an air stream forced against their stationary car and how this affects a cars performance.

• The teams will learn from the racetrack the difference between theories learned as they designed their car around aerodynamics and actual performance on the real racetrack. Each team will take these concepts to the next level, comparing results of their car in the wind tunnel and the roll test ramp to the actual racetrack performance. Sometimes, big differences are observed between theory and actual performance on the racetrack. If a difference is observed by the team, they will go back through the above sequence again to sharpen their problem solving abilities.

• All students will learn why it is important to follow the sequence of construction above (their first car blank will be supplied free of charge). However, mistakes that render any of their cars as unqualified (see grading requirements above) for racing will cost the student(s) time to rebuild a new car body and a nominal fee of .50 cent for each additional blank.

• Jr. Engineering students will sharpen their keyboarding, word processing, and literacy skills as it relates to technical writing as they work on their 500 word essay.
We already have the test track, roll test track and a fogger to insert fog into the wind tunnel. These items add up to over $2,700.00
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This lesson plan will focus on a physical science investigation that intertwines fun, competition, and exciting activities in Math, Science, Technology, Computer literacy, and Technical writing. These simulated real world activities center on: creativity, problem solving, independent and team work learning, and computer software literacy. Problem solving is needed to accomplish the project objectives while students polish their language skills when they report on their results. This study also includes a very strong emphasis on a multi-interdisciplinary approach with what these student have already learned in their science and math classes. The Junior Engineering students will design and fabricate the cars.
As a culmination, students will work together through collaborative dialog and a hands-on cooperative effort to test the cars in the wind tunnel, complete roll testing on the ramp, and racetrack. Through this effort, information literacy will be shared, peer tutoring practiced, and knowledge of results will be confirmed. Parent inter-action is also encouraged when it comes time for the student to paint their car at home and parent invitations will be sent out for Race Day.
Materials: Integrating Technology
Other Items: 1 KELVIN Kel-Wind II Wind Tunnel, $ 5,300.00 each
1 Kel-Thruster™ Propeller Tester w/Interface, $ 550.00 each, total of $550.00
1 Kel-Lift & Drag Sensor, Stand-Alone, $ 1,350.00 each
1 Car builder software, $ 375.00 each, total of $375.00