A Race To the Finish Line

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Priscilla Araujo

Mr. Flint’s Physics class builds car models.

As semester one came to an end, Mr. Flint had his physics class construct car models as their final projects.

Mr. Flint began the car projects 10 years ago as a way to encourage students to pursue engineering-related careers. Students applied their creative and logical skills as they built their 3D prototypes. For the materials, students used items found at home, such as bottle caps, disks, shoe boxes, and skewers. Mr. Flint figured that the best way to get his class to interact was to “balance the misery of class work with the fun of building cars.” While building their models, students encountered problems but learned to find solutions Mr. Flint says that “students experienced the scientific method,” making them aware of all the procedures and commitments needed to create quality work.

The winners for the project included junior Alejandra Gonzalez (Period 1), juniors Giselle Becerra and Richard Aban (Period 3), junior Ruben Gonzalez (Period 5), and junior Ernesto Luna and senior Raymond Becerra (Period 6). Junior Ruben Gonzalez explained that his overall design for the model included “Pokémon cards inside the Pokémon box.” He learned that “more mass makes the car go faster.”

Juniors Giselle Becerra and Richard Aban encountered difficulties during the construction of their car but managed to resolve their issue with confidence and guidance. Giselle explained that her brother “helped [her] decide on the final product of a cylinder-shaped car with 4 disk wheels.” After testing her car model, she discovered that positioning the car correctly can greatly impact the results.

Mr. Flint’s students prepared their model cars with extensive data, calculating velocities and converting one form of energy to another. Mr. Flint explains that the project helped students acknowledge the physics standards they learned, such as “Newton’s Law (HS-PS2-1) and the conservation of mechanical energy (HS-PS3-3). At the end of the day, the students crafted distinctly-shaped models and enjoyed a day racing cars.