Racing Cars

Although fun for some seniors, we are not suggesting seating your elderly loved one in a race car and firing up the engines, we are offering an activity that may be just as fun and educational.


Finding activities for our senior men can be a challenge, but we found that by using familiar objects and ideas, such as car racing, their interest is peaked and their attention is focused.


Begin by discussing toys or games that they may have played with when they were younger. If that is difficult for them, suggest games such as tag or racing friends down the field, or toys such as toy cars or go-carts. This may begin the storytelling of days gone by when they would spend hours building a box-car or racing toy cars with their friends. Some may recall watching famous car races of Mario Andretti, Carol Shelby, or Ken Miles. Perhaps show them video clips of car racing or films, such as Ford vs. Ferrari or documentaries on Ken Miles or Ford Motor Co.


As an activity to supplement your discussions or movie watching, try the following option using toy cars or cars you make yourself:


Friction vs Speed

Using the scientific principals of Friction and it's effects on the speed of a car, use various materials such as sandpaper, honey, and paper on a smooth plank of wood to test how fast a toy car can go on each surface.


Materials:

  • Smooth wooden plank or loose shelf

  • Sandpaper

  • Honey or thick liquid

  • Sheet of Paper

  • Toy Car(s)

  • Tabletop surface to work on

  • Tape

  • Stack of books/magazines


Instructions

  1. Using the stack of books, lean the plank of wood at one end to create a ramp.

  2. Hold the car at the top, highest end of the ramp and ask "how fast do you think the car will go?"

  3. Once answered, release the car to see how fast it goes.

  4. Next, tape the sandpaper onto the ramp, and repeat steps 2 & 3.

  5. Follow the same procedure for each of the friction substances (for the honey, drizzle some on the wood surface or on the piece of paper so as not to ruin a perfectly good piece of wood)

  6. After releasing the car, you can also mark the area where the car stopped. This will show the "results" of each experiment and how friction slowed the speed of the car and perhaps didn't drive as far as the others.


To get others involved, or make it more fun, have two ramps or use two cars on one ramp to create a racing atmosphere to see who's car wins in the end!


* Tune in next week when we make our own balloon-powered car to race!



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