CANR RESPONSE TO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS

Teaching science when you don't know diddly-squat: Does texting affect safe driving?

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March 6, 2017 - Author:

Purpose

The purpose is not to teach specific content, but to teach the process of science – asking questions and discovering answers. This activity encourages young people to try to figure things out for themselves rather than just read an answer on the internet or in a book. As a leader, try not to express your opinion, but let the youth engage in arguments based on evidence.

Time required

20 minutes or multiple days depending on the interest and questions the youth have.

Materials

  • Video game system
  • Racing game
  • 2 phones with texting capability
  • Pencil
  • Paper

Science Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Is it safe to text while you drive? Do you think some people can text while driving while others cannot? How could you test this safely?
Planning and carrying out investigations
Have youth drive a course on the video racing game. Keep track of how many times they crash and their time on the track. Repeat the same course while another person is texting them and they try to respond. Keep track of how many times they crash and their time on the track while they are texting.
Using mathematics and computational thinking
Create a chart with the driver, number of crashes (with and without texting) and time to complete course (with and without texting). Did texting make a difference? Why or why not?
Developing and using models
What are some of the situations that occur while driving that the video game model did not include? How could you make it more realistic? Would you say this test is helpful for determining if texting while driving is safe?
Analyzing and interpreting data
Are certain types of people better at texting while driving than others? Older or younger people? Males or females? Does experience either driving or texting make a difference? 
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Based on what you observed, is there anything you could do to make texting while driving safer? How would you design a car differently based on the prevalence of technology? 
Engaging in argument from evidence
Do you think if someone could text while driving safely in the video game they should be allowed to text while driving in real life? Why or why not?
 
Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Would this be helpful information to share with law enforcement? Do you think this would be a helpful exercise during driver’s education courses? How could you share this information?

Other thoughts

Are there other driving situations you could safely test using a video game? Eating and driving? Listening to music? Having a conversation on the phone? Answering trivia questions?

Science & Engineering Practices

These eight Science and Engineering Practices come from A Framework for K–12 Science Education (National Research Council, 2012, p. 42). These research-based best practices for engaging youth in science are connected to in-school science standards that all children must meet.
  • Asking questions and defining problems
  • Developing and using models
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  •  Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Reference

National Research Council. (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

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Tags: 4-h, science & engineering


Related Topic Areas

4-H Science & Engineering, 4-H

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