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The Amazing Race-Physical Science

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Keywords: Physical Science, Geocaching, Amazing Race, Motion
Subject(s): Technology, Science, Physics, Math
Grades 9 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Portland High School, Portland, TN
Planned By: Michelle Gilliam
Original Author: Michelle Gilliam, Portland
This is a lesson where the Physical Science teacher and the Media Specialist worked together to create an interactive technology lesson reviewing motion using mobile devices such as phones and hand-held Garmin GPSs. Students are placed on teams to race around the school. Each team is a different color-red, blue, yellow, purple, and orange. Each team must have a bag to collect items along the way, an electronic device to solve problems, and a hand-held GPS. This lesson is also used to introduce Geocaching; therefore, cache and clue will be used interchangeably. All stops contain a waypoint that students must enter into a GPS. This will lead them to each stop in the race. Teams will be given a clue to their first stop in the classroom. At this stop, student will find the clue, read what is inside the envelope to find their next location. Each location has a roadblock (problem-solving task) the team must complete in order to find or be given their next clue. The teams are given different locations to ensure no team is competing at the same time in the same location (example below).

Clues of the Race-
• All teams begin in the room with the location to find their first clue (being sent to the recycle bin outside). There they will find a coke bottle to first cache.
• Library Clue-There will be a folder on the wall just inside the library doors. Students find the clue and solve the math problem (roadblock). The answer to the problem is a Dewey Decimal. The team must find the book that corresponds with the Dewey Decimal answer. Inside the book is their next clue. The book is about physical science.
• Parking Lot Clue-When the team gets to the parking lot area from the waypoints, they will solve the problem found on the cache. If they are correct, the attendant will give them their next clue attached to a Matchbox car that coordinates with their team color.
• Cafeteria Clue-The cache will be on the wall in an envelope inside one of the cafeteria doors. Students take the clue, solve it, and go to the Media Specialist to give their answer. If they are correct, the Media Specialist will hand them their next clue.
• Band Pad Clue-Teams will use the GPS or their phones to measure the area of the band practice pad. One team member will go inside the school to the front desk secretary to give the answer. If correct, she will hand them their next clue. If not, they must go back and remeasure.
• Track Clue-Teams will be given a problem to solve. They will give the answer to the teacher who will give them their next clue pinned to a track jersey.
• Flower Bed Clue-In a Petri dish hidden under the flowers is the coordinates to the outside classroom door. This is will take them to the last pit stop.
• Classroom Door-Last pit stop for treats

All caches are placed on a full sheet of paper that is folded in half. The top half is the clue, the bottom half is how to complete the task when there. It also has "The Amazing Race" with a clipart of a race car on each half. This is to add to the excitement and makes it feel like the real race.

Caches (Clues)-In envelope on Coke bottle by recycle bin
• Start (A)-Portland High is a great place to explore,
It’s filled with math, history, and more.
Find the recycling bin for a clue to start your quest,
Be the first team to finish and you’ll be named the best!

• Cache 1-Books of mystery, love, & lore line the walls of this place...
You need to find the task posted near the entrance space.
Use your book smarts to help you complete this task...
And your team will be soon on your way to the next cache!
Waypoint: N 36 34.56 W 086 31.58

To complete this task you will need to:
1–Find the cache near the entrance.
2-Solve the problem found in the cache.
3–Search the library stacks to find a book with that call number.
4–Your clue will be hidden inside the book that would be listed first in alphabetical order. Be sure to take the correct clue!

Cache 1 Problem-How long will it take a cyclist with an acceleration of -2.50 m/s2 to bring a bicycle with an initial forward velocity of 13.5 m/s to come to a complete stop?
Now take that answer and multiply it by 99, add 424.3, minus 167.9. This will be where you can find your next clue.

• Cache 2-It may grumble, rumble, and growl,
This is the place to use your jowl.
No need to worry
You will finish the race in a hurry.
Waypoint: N 36 34.956 W 086 32.004

To complete this task you will need to:
1-Find the cache close to the door.
2-Solve the problem you will find within.
3-One team member will go tell Mrs. Creek the answer for your next location.

Cache 2 Problem-Simpson drives his car with an average velocity of 85 km/h eastward. How long will it take him to drive 560 km on a perfectly straight highway?

• Cache 3-With this leg, you will need to run and jump,
You are halfway over the hump.
If you can make this hurdle,
Your team will be sure to sparkle.
Waypoint: N 36 35.001 W 086 32.069

To complete this task you will need to:
1-Find the cache.
2-Solve the problem found in the cache.
3-Give your answer to Mrs. Coots for you next clue.

Cache 3 Problem-If you walked on the track .3 km per hour, how long will it take you to walk 56 meters?

• Cache 4-The parking lot is where you’ll make your next stop.
Complete the task before you drop.
You will get a car for your clue to continue this race,
To finish first you’ll need to pick up your pace!
Waypoint: N 36 35.008 W 086 32.024

To complete this task you will need to:
1–Get the cache from its hidden location.
2-Complete the activity and solve the problem.
3-If you are correct, you will get your next clue.

Cache 4 Problem-A driver is traveling eastward on a dirt road when she spots a pothole ahead. She slows her car from 140 m/s to 5.5 m/s in 6.0 s. What is the car’s acceleration?

• Cache 5-This is where music can fill the air,
If it sounds bad, Mr. Driver will care.
You are almost finished with your quest,
Finish the race and you will be named “The Best”.
Waypoint: N 36 35.004 W 086 31.919

To complete this task you will need to:
Use your GPS to find the perimeter of the band practice pad by walking along the outside of the pavement. One team member will go tell the answer to the Mrs. Berry to receive your next clue!

• Cache 6-The next stop will not be too far away,
You’ll need to find the pretty flowers and enjoy your stay.
Follow the directions in the cache to receive your clue
to the next locale,
Your team will be last in the end if you fail!
Waypoint: N 36 34.995 W 086 31.968

To complete this task you will need to:
1 – Find the cache near some flowers.
2 – Follow the directions in the cache.

• Cache 6B-Waypoint: N 36 34.996 W 086 31.991

Race Order-
• Red Team- A, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6B
• Blue Team- A, 5, 4, 1, 2, 3, 6, 6B
• Yellow Team- A, 4, 5, 2, 3, 1, 6, 6B
• Purple Team- A, 3, 1, 4, 5, 2, 6, 6B
• Orange Team-A, 2, 3, 5, 1, 4, 6, 6B

-The learner will solve problems related to velocity, acceleration, force, work, and power.
-The learner will learn about geocaching and using waypoints
-The learner will use mobile devices to solve problems
-The learner will review physical science concepts

Most items needed where found around the building. The major cost for this activity were the Garmins. This lesson was tried using waypoints on the student phones, but found the hand-held GPSs work better. This activity was based on 5 teams.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
The GPSs can be used to create other geocaching opportunities. Students can create the waypoint and have other classmates find the location. The Amazing Race idea can be used in any subject area to review key concepts.
Links: Link to Geocaching
Materials: Calculators
Other Items: 6 Garmin eTrex Hand-Held GPSs, $50.00 each, total of $300.00
20 Envelopes
5 Empty Coke Bottles
5 Petri Dishes
5 Track Jerseys
4 Folders
5 Matchbox Cars, $1.00 each, total of $5.00
1 Library Book
4 Math Problems related to Motion, Velocity, Speed