September 16th, 2022

High School Resource: Classroom Idea: Testing an Odometer

High School Resource

Classroom Idea: Testing an Odometer

In this activity:

  • An odometer is a device that measures how far a bicycle (or a car) travels. Sometimes an odometer is not adjusted accurately and gives readings which are consistently too high or too low.
  • Paul did an experiment to check his bicycle odometer. He cycled 10 laps around a race track. One lap of the track is 0.4 kilometers long. When he started, his odometer read 1945.68 and after 10 laps, the his odometer read 1949.88.10 laps Compare how far Paul really traveled with what his odometer read. Make a table that shows numbers of laps in multiples of 10 up to 60 laps, the distance Paul really travels, and the distance the odometer would say he traveled.
  • Draw a graph to show how the distance shown by the odometer is related to the real distance traveled.
  • Find a rule or formula that Paul can use to change his incorrect odometer readings into accurate distances he has gone from the start of his ride.
  • An odometer measures how far a bicycle travels by counting the number of times the wheel turns around. It then multiplies this number by the circumference of the wheel. To do this right, the odometer has to be set for the right wheel circumference. If it is set for the wrong circumference, its readings are consistently too high or too low. Before Paul’s experiment, he estimated that his wheel circumference was 210 cm. Then he set his odometer for this circumference. Use the results of his experiment to find a more accurate estimate for the circumference.

Related NY State Academic Standards: N-VM.1, N-VM.2, N-VM.3, and more!

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