Sph4c: the Great Physics Cart Contest


Sph4c: the Great Physics Cart Contest


Your task is to design a car-like device that will roll along the school hallway when released from rest.

The Contest:

1. Each cart will have three trials for judging.

2. The carts will compete in at least one of the following categories (you choose)

a) Fastest (shortest time for a 5 m race)

b) Furthest distance

c) Stop on a line at a designated distance of 3 m away

Design Criteria:

1. The cart must fit in your locker.

2. It must have a minimum of three wheels.

3. The cart must be made of recycled or reused materials and not from pre-made toy cars

4. The cart must be powered by elastic bands.

5. The cart must start on its own when released from a stationary position.


This project may be done individually or with a partner (1). If this project is done as a pair, your group must complete the group work form on the back of this page.

Performance Analysis Report:

Your performance analysis report will include:

Your initial plan for your vehicle, including a list of materials and an initial drawing
A drawing of your final vehicle, including a list of materials
A position-time graph for your cart based on the data you take using a ticker-tape timer
From your graph, determine your cart's instantaneous speed at a point approximately half-way through its motion
Time your car and give its average velocity for a 1 m trip, a 2 m trip and a 3 m trip.
A reflection on how your vehicle did on the day of the contest and deas on what could be changed to improve the performance of your vehicle if you were to enter another contest


To brag about your car you must make a full page advertisement (8.5 x 11" in size) that shows your car and mentions at least one exciting competition result or piece of analysis.


Build your car as soon as you can!! Three class periods are scheduled to conduct your analysis. Your cart will be handed in on the competition day. Your report and advertisement will be due the day after the competition.

Competition day:______

Report and Advertisement due:______


Group Members:______

Level 4 / Level 3 / Level 2 / Level 1
Quality & Design / Car rolls very smoothly, clever use of materials, sturdy, powerful energy source, very consistent
9-10 / Car rolls well, wheels aligned, good use of materials, reliable energy source
7-8 / Car has basic function, wheels well-attached, energy source adequate
5-6 / Car barely functions, poorly designed, falls apart
Performance / Completed or won an event with an outstanding score
5 / Completed an even with a good score
4 / Completed an event with an adequate score
3 / Did not complete an event
Advertisement / Clever design and layout, eye catching, excellent use of information
5 / Interesting design and presentation, good use of information
4 / Basic, neat layout, contains required information
3 / Important information missing, messy, little visual appeal
Performance Analysis Report / Clear presentation of all analytical results
5 / Neat, easy -to-read, labelled graph, results carefully shown including units
4 / Graph adequate, basic results shown, minor errors
3 / Important results missing or incorrectly completed

Group Work Form:

Indicate with a checkmark which parts of the project each member worked on. Some parts may be shared.

Name: / Name:
Cart construction (include roughly how much time each)
Ticker-tape measurements
Timing measurements
Position-time graph
Analysis calculations