This module begins with three fictional characters at an amusement park observing bumper cars. Through the example of the bumper cars, students are introduced to energy transfer and conversion in collisions. The students apply new skills and knowledge to solve a design problem where they are asked to design and build a restraint system to protect a passenger in a vehicle collision. The passenger is represented by an egg. The vehicle rolls down an inclined plane and collides with a solid object such as a wall.
Students explore how mechanisms change energy by transferring direction, speed, type of movement, and force. Students discover a variety of ways that potential energy can be stored and released as kinetic energy. Citing evidence, students explain the relationship between the speed of an object and the energy of that object. They also predict the transfer of energy as a result of a collision between two objects. As students solve the problem for this module, they will apply their knowledge and skills related to energy transfer in collisions to develop a vehicle restraint system.