- Define the strategy of drafting
- Explain how aerodynamics principles help drafting cars move faster
- The Art of Drafting Video
- Drafting diagram
- Game Changer Activity Sheet
- Race Car Adaptations Resource Sheet
- Post Assessment: What Did You Learn About the Science of Speed?
- Recycled or reused drawing paper
- Poster board or butcher paper
- Make a copy of each activity sheet and resource sheet for each student in your class
Think: What is drafting?
- Explain to students that, in addition to the NASCAR race car adaptations we’ve discussed, drivers use a technique called drafting to gain a boost in speed on the track. Drafting is a driving strategy where race cars improve the performance of their vehicles by closely lining up one behind the other.
- Show students Drafting video.
Step 1: Explain that the science behind drafting relies on Bernoulli’s principle. When race cars draft, the leading car blocks the air, creating an area of low pressure behind it. The low pressure pulls the trailing car forward toward the leading car. This pushes the high-pressure air over the lead car’s spoiler, reducing its drag. The result allows both cars to go a few miles per hour faster. Project the drafting diagram to demonstrate the aerodynamics of drafting to students.
Step 2: Hand out the Game Changer Activity Sheet where students will read a passage about the history of drafting, followed by questions to assess their reading comprehension. (Answers: 1. C; 2. A; 3. D; 4. It looks like two or more cars trailing each other with just inches between them; 5. “The more cars that are grouped in a drafting formation, the faster they all will go.”)
Team Up: How does drafting help cars travel faster?
- Provide pit crews with poster board or butcher paper, tape, scissors, markers, and the Race Car Adaptations Resource Sheet.
- Instruct them to draw and cut out race cars to make a poster that includes:
- a racetrack with three or more race cars
- examples of drag, downforce, and drafting
- arrows that show how air pressure acts on race cars
- labels demonstrating spoilers, splitters, and other adaptations
POST-ASSESSMENT ANSWER KEY
1. B; 2. D; 3. A; 4. B; 5. B; 6. A; 7. D; 8. B; 9. D; 10. A