You need to login before you download the free activities. You can register here.


Think 30 for a reason

  • GCSE
  • Popular Activity
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Data work
Topic: Forces

2005 was Einstein year! Also 2005 saw the launch of the 'Think 30 for a reason' road safety campaign from the Department of Transport. This activity clearly demonstrates the value of physics in explaining the science behind life and death situations. The Think 30 for a reason campaign was aired nationally on screens early in 2006.

14-16 How Science Works:
Pupils should be taught to:
3a. recall, analyse, interpret, apply and question scientific information or ideas.
3c. present information, develop an argument and draw a conclusion, using scientific, technical and mathematical language, conventions and symbols and ICT tools.

Published: 24th January 2006
Reviews & Comments: 13

Learning objectives

�Students gain insight through being able to apply the equation 1/2 mv2 to explain a genuine scenario.

�Students will reinforce their understanding of kinetic energy and the relative effects of changing mass and velocity upon the resulting amount of kinetic energy. Students will find out that the changing kinetic energy has a consequence of altering the braking distance of a vehicle.

Try the activity

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

Kinetic energy.

GCSE specifications
AQA Additional Science
Unit P2 Physics: 13.3 What happens to the movement energy when things speed up or slow down?
• The kinetic energy of a body depends on its mass and its speed.
• Calculate the kinetic energy of a body using the equation:
kinetic energy = � � mass � speed2
(joule, J) (kilogram, kg) ((metre/second) 2, (m/s) 2)
Edexcel Additional Science
Unit P2 Topic 10: Roller Coasters and Relativity
• Use the relationship: kinetic energy = � � mass � (velocity) 2, KE = � mv 2
Gateway Additional Science
Module P3 Forces for transport: Item P3e Energy on the move
• Use the equation: KE = 1 x mv2
• Apply the ideas of kinetic energy to the relationship between braking distances and speed and everyday situations involving objects moving.
Twenty First Century Additional Science
Module P4 Explaining motion: P4.4 How can we describe motion in terms of energy changes?
• Understand that the greater the mass of an object and the faster it is moving, the more kinetic energy it has;
• Use the equation: kinetic energy = � � mass � speed2
(joule, J) (kilogram, kg) ((metre/second) 2, (m/s) 2)

Running the activity

To set the scene, show students the video clip
Discuss with pupils what this clip shows here is the commentary from the Think 30 campaign to go with the clip.
The 40 mph crash
The injuries sustained by the child after the 40mph crash are as follows: A fractured pelvis (though this is not visible) and radius and ulna bones (lower arm) along with a skull fracture (base).
Prior to the beginning of the film, the girl, 8 years old (120-130 cms, weighing 55 pounds), ran out into the road, the car (a Ford Fiesta) driving at 40mph in a 30mph speed zone, has hit her at 40mph. She has been hit initially on the pelvis. Her pelvis has broken. Having been hit initially in the pelvis she has been thrown approximately 28m from the car, and has fallen to the ground onto her arm initially, with her head hitting the road next, causing her skull to be fractured (hence the trickle of blood from the ear, and the blood in the hair). She has grazes on the side of her face (on her cheeks and temple) from where she has slid along the road. She has then been placed at the side of the road after being pronounced dead which is where the film begins.
The 30 mph crash
As the commercial goes on, the effects of the 40 crash recede and the body moves into the middle of the road to illustrate the difference in effect between being hit at 40mph versus 30mph. What you actually see are the bones going back into place (the arm), the wound on the head heals itself, and the scrapes recede.
In this scenario the girl, 8 years old (120-130 cms, weighing 55 pounds), has run out into the road, the car (a Ford Fiesta) driving at 30mph in a 30mph speed zone, having not seen her jump out has hit her at 30mph. She has been hit initially on the pelvis. Her pelvis is bruised. Having been hit initially in the pelvis she is thrown approximately 16 metres and falls onto her side, fracturing her arm (though it would not look distorted). She then hits her head, but not so hard as to concuss her. In this scenario she survives, taking a deep breath in as the commercial ends.

Main activity:
Students take on the role of science consultant to 'Sake and Sake' advertising agency. Their task is to explain the science behind why the impact of a car travelling at 40mph upon a pedestrian is about four times more likely to kill the pedestrian than an impact with the same cart at 30mph.
To do this pupils need to become familiar and confident in their application of the equation 1/2 mv2

Students share their presentations and explanations

News links

Einstein Year is an easy to navigate and fun site where students can discover all about Einstein and the physics laws he set out in three scientific papers, when he was only 26. The site has lots of interesting information. Students can send in their physics questions and get an appropriate answer for their Key Stage.
Government campaign advert
This is the powerful advertisement from the Think 30 for a reason Campaign.
Government campaign
provides a source of other information and resources related to the campaign.
Bitesized noted on thinking and braking distances.
Bitesized notes on kinetic energy in the context of braking.

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?


May 13th, 2010

4 Star

I think it is excellent in getting the pupils to think about the problem and look at KE in a practical way. It is also excellent for linking the AQA syllabus from stopping distance to energy transfer.
I did not understand the last part though and thought that my pupils struggled with what the task asked them to do .

Reviewer: Faisal Qureshi


Mar 18th, 2010

3 Star

ok if class receptive and given time to produce something of quality

Reviewer: Peter Curati


Oct 20th, 2008

4 Star

good to use with c/d without introducing KE but the full activity worked well with my top set

Reviewer: moira hairsine

Kinetic Energy & Stopping Distances

Jul 14th, 2008

4 Star

I ran this activity with a top set Year 10 class who are just starting the GCSE Additional syllabus. They found it stimulating & extremely useful in getting to grips with both topics. The added bonus was the chance to improve their presentation skills.
I found this a very worthwhile activity which allowed me to assess students' skills, knowledge and ability in several ways.
The overriding theme of road safety was also helpful in linking science with the real world.

Reviewer: Stephen Clark


Apr 30th, 2008

5 Star

I have used this many time now and is a different way of covering stoppping distance.
Very useful resource

Reviewer: yann Borges

Think 30 for a reason

Jun 5th, 2007

5 Star

A fantastic concept - full of brilliant and inspiring material.
Useful and relevant resources ..the speed at which they come out is most impressive!!!

martin gibson
Talbot Heath School

Reviewer: Martin Gibson

Think 30

Feb 6th, 2007

4 Star

I used this with a top set and they really enjoyed it, and liked being able to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

Reviewer: Carol Davenport

Very powerful

Nov 30th, 2006

5 Star

I used this with a challenging Y10 and used the videos from the TV ads on a projector. The students were completely engaged. Take care with your choice of Videos/pix/clips as some students may be upset (especially check on family background - you would not want to do this with a student who had a recent loss).

Reviewer: Michael Proudman

Think 30 for a reason

Oct 15th, 2006

4 Star

I found this an excellent activity for my Y11 students, after watching the video and discussing the injuries sustained at 30 and 40mph we looked at the KE formula and then completed the worksheet.

As well as engaging them to use the KE formula it stimulated discussion about speeding and the risk to pedestrians.

We completed the lesson looking at a couple more short road safety videos highlighting stopping distance.

Reviewer: Ian Bailey

Think 30 for a reason review

May 20th, 2006

5 Star

I used this with my very able year 9 group over the last week, they produced some fantastic powerpoint presentations and have a good understanding of how to use and rearrange the formula for kinetic energy.

A lot of them were able to describe the linear relationship between KE and mass and the quadratic relationship between KE and velocity. I feel that having spent the time reflecting on the realistic implications of this formula gave them the confidence to say what they already knew from maths, and interpreting the maths in physics is a crucial skill!

All students enjoyed this challenge, including the usually 'less motivated' ones. I am really proud of their achievements and am certain that this will lead them into the GCSE topics of energy transfer, work done and calculating braking distance with a little more ease than had they not completed this task.

Catherine Cava
Newstead Wood School for Girls

Reviewer: Catherine Cava

Think 30 for a reason review

Feb 7th, 2006

5 Star

Used very successfully with an able year 9 class for whom the basic content of speeding up wasn't challenging enough - it really made them think and the guidance gave them direction without being too prescriptive.

Reviewer: Pam Large

Think 30 for a reason review

Feb 6th, 2006

1 Star

I downloaded the materials for year 9 SATs revision. Whilst the concept is a very good idea, I found the busy pages very difficult to interpret and feel that for my particular group of year 9s the task would have been too complex. For a high ability year 9 or KS4 class I'm sure it would be a very interesting lesson!

Reviewer: Fiona Hankinson

think 30

Feb 3rd, 2006

5 Star

Really inspiring!
My year 11 Forces group really were engaged with this activity!
We had a few problems initially in trying to view the campaign video but many pupils were keen to get started . They soon realised that they had to be organised in order to complete the activity on time and this helped to sharpen their group work skills.
The kinetic energy equation was linked in very well and the practical application of it certainly improved their understanding of the concept.
Groups had to be "selected" carefully in order to provide the right balance of skills. We all learned from each other!
Heather West - Community School

Reviewer: heather west