Lesson 3: Exploring Distance and Travel Time

Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to calculate speed from distance and travel time, calculate travel time from speed and distance, and be able to appropriately order distances from smallest to biggest of length of Washington, DC, distance to Moon, distance to Sun, diameter of Solar system, diameter of Milky Way, distance between Milky Way and Andromeda, and diameter of Universe.

General Flow of Lesson:

  • Students will define distance.
  • Students will define speed.
  • Students will define time
  • Students will measure distances from the physics building to Georgia avenue and to 4th street.
  • Students will measure the time to walk from the physics building to Georgia avenue.
  • Students will calculate their walking speed.
  • Students will measure the average speed of a car on Georgia avenue.
  • Students will calculate the time it would take them to walk to Gallery Place.
  • Students will calculate the time it would take an car to travel to Gallery Place.
  • Students will look up the speed of a 777, Apollo 13, and Voyager.

Students will calculate how long it would take a student, a 777, Apollo 13, and voyager to get to (a) across DC, (b) to the Moon, (c) to the Sun, (d) Jupiter, (e) the edge of the solar system, (f) Wolf 359, (g) Sagitarius A, (h) the edge of the galaxy. 

Hands on Activities:

  • Students will measure how long it takes them to walk from the physics building to Georgia Avenue.
  • Students will measure how long it takes them to walk from the physics building to 4th street.
  • Students will measure the average speeds of cars on Georgia Avenue.
  • Students will use a microwave emitter/receiver to experience the sound of a Doppler shift.