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High Speed Risk

  • Key Stage 3
  • Popular Activity
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Data work
Topic: Graphing motion

A constable who did 160 mph on a motorway has been cleared of speeding and dangerous driving. He'd been trained to drive fast and said he was just practicing the skills he'd been taught. But was this a wise thing to do? Accident prevention specialists think not! But expert drivers claim it's a case of 'use it or lose it' - high speed driving needs to be practiced. In this activity students decide who's right by extrapolating safety data and assessing the risk the constable took.

Published: 2nd June 2005
Reviews & Comments: 5

Learning objectives

Pupils will practice their graph plotting skills and increase their understanding of ethical issues by exploring the risks and benefits of sanctioning high speed driving.

Try the activity

You will need Acrobat Reader installed to open the activity sheets.

9k Speeding Up
• Know the units in which speed is measured.
• Manipulate and apply the quantitative relationship linking distance, time and speed.
Investigative skills
• Select and use appropriate methods for communicating quantitative data.
Ideas about science
• Assess risk.

Running the activity

Page 1 introduces the issues and sets the first task. Students have to extrapolate data from the Highway Code to find the PC's expected stopping distance at his maximum speed. Page 2 gives them the data they need and provides a template for their graphs. Page 3 sets a second task. Students score arguments for and against letting the police practice high speed driving on public roads.

Answers are given on the downloadable version of the teacher's notes.

News links

BBC coverage of the original news story.
Road Safety Website
Lots of background on road safety.
Physics classroom
Animations of the relationship between speed and braking distance.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists website with links to information about training to drive well at high speeds.

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?

link up with Y10

May 3rd, 2011

4 Star

Used the think 30 for a reason and high speed risk. Took parts from both. Really gave point across especially as video link was graphic. Girls understood and enjoyed lesson. thanks.

Reviewer: brenda goodwill


Jul 22nd, 2010

4 Star

This was a good resource and it offers an appropriate level of challenge for my class group. Many thanks

Reviewer: Henry Airen

nice lesson

Feb 7th, 2010

5 Star

this is a nice lesson for set one to do and it allows you to bring in real life situations. Thankyou

Reviewer: susan smith

High speed risk

Nov 7th, 2007

3 Star

nice activity to practice graph skills

Reviewer: Phill Thomas

High Speed Risk

Nov 11th, 2005

5 Star

I used High Speed Risk with a top set in year 9 after we had measured speeds of cars outside our school. Projecting the activity sheets onto the whiteboard, we did the Maths together and a student completed the graph, we then had a lively discussion about the implications. I also used the activity with a bottom set where we avoided the Maths but the final sheet sparked a great discussion and the students talked about the effectivelness of the 'reduce your speed' adverts they had seen on tv, we finished with a vote on whether the risk is justified - they all got really involved and listened to each other's views. I felt it went very well with both ends of the ability range and was pleased to be able to teach it with very little preparation time and such good outcomes.

Reviewer: Frances Pinsent