Go Car Go is fun, so if you're using it during class time, prepare to be met with some reluctance to stop playing. Let students play the game as a hook before discussing principles of physics like mass and acceleration, and then lead them in a discussion about their observations. This app also makes a great object lesson on perseverance and learning from "failed" attempts. Discuss with students how, even when their cars didn't make it past the finish line, they adjusted their designs and tried something different, just as successful people in any field try, fail, evaluate, and try again.Continue reading Show less
Editor's Note: Go Car Go is no longer available.
Go Car Go is an incredibly fun game of physics in action. Kids create cars from an assortment of materials -- wheels and blocks of various weights and sizes -- and then send their cars down a course, hoping to catch a star before crossing the finish line. Each course offers a different journey of obstacles. Kids can replay levels, which is helpful if they just must get that star, and each level gets more difficult. Players can share results via social media, though that's optional. Instructions are brief and easy to understand, but they're written, so Go Car Go might be best for independent readers. The challenge, however, will entertain and educate kids of all ages.
Kids can learn basics of physics -- specifically, the impact of mass and its placement on the acceleration of an object. Go Car Go makes being a scientist fun as students create a hypothesis, test it, and evaluate it –- by creating a car with wheels and weight in varying positions, sending the car down a course, and evaluating what worked and what didn't. Initial levels are easy and offer few choices in the car's construction. But each level offers more choices in building materials, and each course gets more challenging. This addictive app makes exploring momentum, gravity, and velocity incredibly fun. Students will need some explicit instruction in the principles at work to fully grasp the physics involved, but the simplicity of the design makes it easy for students to see how the idea transfers into real-world applications.
Key Standards Supported
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
Analyze data to determine if a design solution works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull.