ALEX Learning Activity

Crash Test Dummies

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Ginger Boyd
System:Geneva County
School:Samson Middle School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1869
Crash Test Dummies
Digital Tool/Resource:
Crash Test Dummies, Seatbelts, Momentum, and Airbags
Web Address – URL:

In this learning activity, students will use raw eggs and a shoe box to investigate how seat belts and airbags work together to save lives during a collision.  

This activity results from the ALEX Resource Gap Project.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
1 ) Use evidence to explain the relationship of the speed of an object to the energy of that object.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.4.1- Recognize that objects move at different speeds.

SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
3 ) Investigate to determine changes in energy resulting from increases or decreases in speed that occur when objects collide.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.4.3- Identify the effect of an opposing force on a moving object.

Learning Objectives:

The students will:

  • investigate changes in energy that result when objects collide.
  • use evidence from their investigations to explain the relationship between the speed and energy of an object.
  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

Introduce this learning activity by showing the video:  Crash Test Dummies, Seatbelts, Momentum, and Airbags.

After watching the video, remind the students of Newton's first law of motion which states that a body in motion will stay in motion unless an outside force acts upon it.  Explain to the students that they will be conducting an investigation on the importance of seatbelts and airbags and demonstrate how they work together.  Place students in groups of 2 or 3 students per group.

Distribute the materials:  (per group)

  • one shoe box (car)
  • 3 raw eggs (passengers)
  • masking tape (seatbelts)
  • 4-pint size Ziploc bags (airbags)
  • one wooden board to use as a ramp
  • one brick
  • 3 plastic grocery bags
  • science journals

First, have the students build a ramp using the wooden board. Lean the board against a table or student desk and place the bricks at the end of the board to act as the "collision". It is important that all groups use the same height for their ramp each time they perform the experiment. Students will use the shoe box as their "car". Have the students line the shoebox with one of the plastic grocery bags before starting the experiment. Students will place one of their passengers (raw egg) in their car (shoe box) at the top of the ramp and release. Tell the students to observe what happens to the passengers (raw egg) and write their observations in their science journal. Remove the plastic grocery bag liner if there is a mess and replace it with a new liner and try the experiment again. This time add seatbelts (tape) to your passenger (raw egg). Have students write down their observations in their science journals. Students should again change out the plastic grocery bag liner in the shoebox and try the experiment again. This time, in addition to adding seatbelts (tape) to their passenger (raw eggs), they should add airbags (4 Ziploc bags) on all four sides of the egg inside the shoebox. What were the results of the collision this time using the airbags (Ziploc bags) and seatbelts (tape)?  

Assessment Strategies:

Assess the learning activity with an exit ticket for each group with the following question:  Based on your investigation today, explain why it is important to wear your seat belts even if your car has airbags?

Remind students to include their observations of the changes in energy that resulted from the collision and to explain the relationship between the speed and energy of an object.

Advanced Preparation:

You will need a projector and a computer with Internet access to show the video. Remind students to wash their hands after handling raw eggs.

Variation Tips (optional):

You may want to use hard-boiled eggs if this experiment is too messy for you.

Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
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