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  1. How to Make Math Learning Fun -- and Effective | HuffPost
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Also, for female students who had difficulty realizing that sometimes male students are physically stronger, this showed that with help even the smallest female student in the class could lift an object that was too heavy for the strongest male student. This was used as a positive reinforcing reinforcement activity Hylton, The camp also demonstrated that these topics are not attractive exclusively to Caucasian males. This led to the development of a longer curriculum module, which could be extended from a few days to several weeks, which was aimed at both involving students in a motorsports related design project that could be tied to additional concepts from science and mathematics.

How to Make Math Learning Fun -- and Effective | HuffPost

As racecars have become faster, they also carry more and more kinetic energy that must be dissipated when a crash occurs. Extensive effort has been expended into designing and developing systems to absorb or distribute the energy that occurs during a crash in order to protect the driver. Some of these concepts also have been adapted to increase the safety of the average driver on the street.

These approaches are discussed in a new module regarding how STEM practitioners have applied their skills to developing safer racing practices. For all drivers in the top racing series e. McDowell lost control of his car and crashed head-on into the outer retaining barrier of the track at an estimated mph. Although the car was destroyed, as shown in Figure 2 SpeedTV, , he managed to walk away, and less than 24 hours later he qualified for the same race in another car. This crash is noticeably more severe than the crash that killed Dale Earnhardt only a few years earlier. The difference in severity in the two crashes is immediately obvious to the students who are exposed to this motorsports safety material.

This discussion opens the door to several STEM concepts, beginning with a discussion of kinetic energy, which is equal to one-half mass times velocity squared. The fact that applied work can offset energy is introduced in the context of the Law of Conservation of Energy.

Work is calculated from an applied force over a distance. With a little guidance, they recognize that the car is noticeably shorter after the crash.

The crash resulted in a significant shortening of the front end of the car. Additionally, a review of the crash film shows deformation of the safer barrier wall that the car hit.


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The sum of the distance the wall deflected and the distance the center of gravity of the car moved during the shortening of the chassis can be used to estimate the distance over which the impact force was applied. Mathematical problem-solving skills are then exercised to estimate the amount of force that the car experienced during the crash. This is one of the main objectives of improving STEM education. Students are then given the objective of a designing their own energy-absorbing concept for a crash-test vehicle.

The need to conceptualize, design, fabricate, and construct a vehicle capable of protecting a passenger in this case an egg during a severe impact, is a challenge that they can easily relate to after discussions that have been described in this article. Armed with the new-found understanding of how motorsports safety structures are designed, students are provided with simple construction materials e. In addition, they have access to a test cart, which will carry their structures down the crash-test track.

They are also supplied the egg that will serve as a fragile passenger during the testing.

Rally Drivers Are Completely Crazy—And Stupid Skillful

Once completed the crash-test vehicles built by the students are sent down a sloped track, allowing them to convert potential energy at the top of the hill to kinetic energy at the bottom another tie to appropriate science concepts , as shown in Figure 3. Results are readily obvious, because a successful design yields an intact driver egg after the crash, as shown in Figure 4. A less successful design fails to provide adequate energy absorption and results in an injured passenger, or in this case, a broken egg, as shown in Figure 5.

For obvious reasons, this testing should be done outdoors. Mathematics and mathematicians are increasing the speed and quality of human decision-making across a number of sports, but the most obvious example is Formula One racing.

Engineers will perform hundreds of calculations to formulate the best race strategy based on variables such as tyre pressure and tread; fuel load; race and lap distance; car and driver weight. Before taking to the track, the driver, car and fuel load must be a minimum of kilograms — with cars losing on average 2.


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  8. How the fueling and weight strategy is managed can be the difference between winning and losing. The fastest pit stop of all time was recorded at 1. The in-race changes you make to the car must claw that time back — and preferably go even further — so it is vital that teams pit their drivers at the right time and make the right changes.

    In order to do this, the only way is maths. The mathematics of an F1 race is both fluid and dynamic. F1 telemetry systems are constantly collecting data on all manner of racing variables: oil and water levels, clutch fluid pressure, G-force and engine revs per minute to name a few. These are communicated back to engineers in the pits and at control centres using a range of radio and wireless technologies.

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    Furthermore, there are numbers from outside the car to consider: temperature, air pressure and moisture, for example. The numbers collected from both car and climate all form discernible parts of one big equation, the sum of which will inform what lap the driver is pitted and what tweaks will be made to the car. For all of the above reasons, F1 is the most data-hungry sport in the world and maths influences the outcomes of races and championships more heavily than it does in other sports.