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Teacher Feature

Rings Around the Racetrack

Background

As shown by the design on the Indiana quarter, this state is very proud of their auto racing history; in particular their extremely prestigious race, the Indianapolis 500.  This race is conducted on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.5 mile banked oval.  The race is named the Indy 500 because contestants drive 500 miles on this track in their race to cross the finish line!

Activity

After introducing your students to the Indy 500, have them use their division skills to determine the number of laps a driver would need to complete in order to finish this race (200 laps).  Once students have solved this problem, instruct them to determine the length of time it would take to complete this race at different rates of speed.  Finally ask students to determine the speed at which a car must travel to complete the race in 3 hours and 7.5 minutes?  (500 miles/3.125 hours = 160 miles per hour)

Standards

The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education.  These standards are listed below:

Mathematics Standards

Number & Operations:  The students will incorporate their understanding of whole numbers and decimals to help them determine their responses.

Algebra Problem Solving:  The students will develop an initial understanding of the use of variables to solve a contextualized math problem.



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