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Lesson: Stopping Distance and Reaction Time

Grade Science (1.5 class periods)
Content Standards:
5.2.12.E.1- Compare the calculated and measured speed, average speed, and acceleration of an
object in motion
5.2.8.E.1- Calculate the speed of an object when given distance and time.
MS-PS2-3- Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the classroom, outdoor
environment, museums and other public resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis
based on observations and scientific principles
MS-PS2-5- Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to produce data to
serve as the basis for evidence that can meet the goals of the investigation.
Calculate speed from a set of collected data
Calculate average speed using collected class data
Discuss stopping distance and apply the concept to the schools basketball
Investigate the safety of the schools basketball court, applying the concepts of
speed, stopping distance, and reaction time.
Accurately represent data in a graphical format

Essential Questions:
What is the speed of the fastest student in the class?
What is the average speed of the class for a 25 meter run
Could the basketball court in the school yard be considered safe?
o Is the distance between the foul line and surrounding walls enough to
ensure the safety of the players?
Is there a correlation between reaction time and stopping distance, when the
data from our class is graphed?

Performance Based Assessment- Students will be assessed on their performance
during the two outdoor activities, as well as their performance in generating
graphical representations of their collected data

- Student text book: Prentice Hall Science Explorer Motion, Forces and Energy
Book M. Pearson Education Inc. Boston Massachusetts. Copyright 2009

- Textbook
- Worksheet/ graph
- Pencil
- Stopwatch
- Metersticks
- Chalk
- Tape measure (meters)
Teaching Procedures:
1. Pose a question about stopping distance
a. Ask students: How would you define stopping distance? What does the
term stopping distance mean to you? What situations can you think of
where stopping distance is important?
i. Examples: driving a car, running, etc.
2. Ask questions regarding the safety of the schools outdoor basketball court
a. Do you think the distance between the foul lines and the building is
enough for students to be able to safely stop before crashing into the wall?
b. How can we determine what an appropriate distance between the foul line
and the wall should be?
3. Give handout with activity to complete
a. Discuss activity briefly
4. Take students outside:
a. Mark off 25 meters on the school yard.
b. Have students (one at a time) sprint to the 25m line and try to stop
immediately at the line.
c. Record the time it takes for the students to run 25m
d. Measure the distance from the line to where the student stopped and
record that in the table
e. While students are running have the other students measure each others
reaction times
i. Each student chooses a partner
ii. One partner holds a meter stick between the others thumb and
index finger
iii. Without warning the meter stick is dropped and must be caught
iv. Measure the number of cm the meter stick traveled before being
caught and record it in the table provided under reaction distance
5. After all students have completed both activities, return to the classroom for a
6. Since the students learned in the previous lesson how to calculate speed, and
average speed, they can begin using the data they collected to answer the
corresponding questions
7. For homework the students will complete the rest of the worksheet, graph the
data and return ready to discuss their investigation on the next class session.

Name: ______________________________________________
Stopping Distance & Reaction Time
The school will put a new basketball court in a small area between two buildings. Safety is an
important consideration in the design of the court. What is the distance needed between an out
of bounds line and the wall so that a player can stop before hitting a wall.
Part 1: Reaction Time
A partner will drop a meter-stick between your thumb and index finger without giving you a
warning. Grab the meter stick before it falls and record the distance the stick traveled before you
caught it in the table under Reaction Distance
Part 2: Stopping Distance
1. You will be timed to run 25 m
2. You will come to a stop as quickly as possible once you reach the 25 m line
3. Your partner will measure how far after the 25m mark you moved before stopping
4. Record your time and stopping distance in the chart below
5. You must collaborate with all groups to gather data for every student in the class

Class Data
Reaction Distance
Running time Stopping Distance


Analyze and Conclude
1. Calculate the speed of the student that ran the 25m course the fastest.

2. Calculate the average speed of the class.

3. What other factors should you take into account when applying the results to a real basketball

4. Suppose you calculate that the distance from the out of bounds line to the wall is too short.
Write a proposal to the school and make a suggestion for the safety of the students.

5. Do you notice any correlation between stopping distance and reaction time, from your data?

On the graph below, graph the data for time vs. stopping distance. Is there a relationship
between time and stopping distance? Remember to label your X and Y axis and use the correct
units. A data table has been provided for you to arrange your data appropriately.

Performance Based Assessment Rubric
Activity Participation/ Performance
Criteria 3 2 1 Score

Focus on
the task

Consistently stays focused
on the task and what needs
to be done. Very self-
Focuses on the task
and what needs to be
done some of the time.
Other class members
must sometimes
remind this person to
stay on-task

Rarely focuses on the
task and what needs to
be done. Lets others
do the work

Almost always listens to,
shares with, and supports
the efforts of others. Tries
to keep people working
well together.
Often listens to, shares
with, and supports the
efforts of others, but
sometimes is not a
good team member.
Rarely listens to,
shares with, and
supports the efforts of
others. Often is not a
good team player.

Work reflects this
student's best efforts.
Work reflects some
effort from this
Work reflects very
little effort on the part
of this student.

Always has a positive
attitude about the task(s).
Usually has a positive
attitude about the
Often has a negative
attitude about the

Actively participates in
the movement activities
Lack of enthusiasm in
displayed during the
movement activities
Does not participate
in the movement

Accurately follows all
directions; does not need
directions to be repeated
Does not follow
directions the first
time and needs

Does not follow

Graphing Performance
3 2 1 Score

of Plot
All points are plotted
correctly and are easy to
see. A ruler is used to
neatly connect the points
or make the bars

All points are plotted
correctly and are easy
to see.

Points are not plotted
correctly OR extra
points were included.

Type of

Graph fits the data well
and makes it easy to
Graph is adequate and
does not distort the
data, but
interpretation of the
data is somewhat

Graph seriously
distorts the data
making interpretation
almost impossible.

Data Table
Data in the table is well
organized, accurate, and
easy to read.
Data in the table is
accurate and easy to
Data in the table is not
accurate and/or
cannot be read.

Labeling of
X axis
The X axis has a clear, neat
label that describes the
units used for the
independent variable

The X axis has a label.

The X axis is not

Labeling of
Y axis
The Y axis has a clear, neat
label that describes the
units and the dependent

The Y axis has a label.

The Y axis is not

Total Score/ Possible 33 Points