How Fast Is It?: A zippy book all about speed


This is an activity based on the picture book How Fast Is It?: A zippy book all about speed

Achievement Objectives
GM4-1: Use appropriate scales, devices, and metric units for length, area, volume and capacity, weight (mass), temperature, angle, and time.
Specific Learning Outcomes
  1. Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of rate by using devices to measure time and distance.
  2. Students will be able to convert metric units as required in order to calculate and compare rates.
Description of Mathematics
  1. Rate is calculated as distance over time.
  2. Rates can be compared when they have common units for distance and time.
Required Resource Materials

Wind up toys, toy cars, remote control cars, battery operated toys

Rulers, measuring tapes

How Fast Is It?: A zippy book all about speed by Ben Hillman


Need for Speed!
This activity is based on the picture book How Fast Is It?: A zippy book all about speed

Author: Ben Hillman
Publisher: Scholastic (2008)
ISBN: 978-0-439-91867-1

This book is a series of short articles supporting an image of one photograph overlaid with another to demonstrate comparative speed. Each 2-page spread has a large photo illustration that has a “Wow!” factor as an object, such as a sailfish, is compared to another object, a car on the motorway (each doing 100km/hr!). The positioning of one thing alongside another challenges our perception of what “fast” actually means. The articles are packed with measurement facts in imperial and metric units using whole numbers and decimals.

Lesson Sequence:

  1. Prior to sharing this book, ask students to bring in toys that move like remote control toys, windup toys, matchbox cars, battery operated robots etc. These will be used for their investigation related to rate.
  2. Share the book with your students, focusing on the photo illustrations and the comparison ideas within the illustrations themselves. Identify the key units related to rate: seconds, minutes, hours, cm, km etc. Discuss how rates have been measured. Support your students to reach the conclusion that rate of speed is about distance over time. Discuss why comparisons need to be made with common units in order to make decisions about which is faster.
  3. Choose 1 or 2 articles that you believe may be of interest to your students and share some of the statistics presented in the text, or have some photocopies of pages and assign students to read through and report back about the statistics.
  4. Next, ask students to work in pairs to calculate the rate of speed of a toy in km/hr. For example if they have a remote control car they may need to mark off a 10 m section of the netball court and time the toy and then convert the m/sec to km/hr. Have students share their strategies and calculations with you.
  5. When everyone has a common km/hr rate, have students graph the class’ data.
  6. As a research project students can compare the speed of various toys to animals.
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Level Four