The Changing Face of the Automobile

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To test automobile aerodynamics and the impact of shape on distance traveled. To figure the financial and environmental impacts of fuel efficient vehicles

The invention and proliferation of the automobile during the 20th century has perhaps had the greatest impact on human modern lives in terms of transportation. Automobiles, for most Americans, are not a luxury, but rather a necessity. We think nothing of jumping in the car and driving sometimes hundreds of miles on a trip or for our jobs. Traveling this far was rare even 60 years ago. The consequences to our ways of life and to our planet are great; and, indeed, we cannot go back. But looking to the future, researchers are constantly trying to find better ways of transporting humans with more fuel efficient vehicles by altering car mass, shape and engine design.
Energy Policy
Materials Lightweighting
Product Lifecycle:
Pre-production: Research, Design, Development, Testing, and Tooling
Resource Type:
Classroom Activity
Lesson Plan
PBS Springboard
Author & Title:
PBS Springboard
Date Developed:
Thursday, December 15, 2016
motion,air resistance,friction,forces,economics,consumer choices
Education Level:
Elementary School (1-5)
Middle School (6-8)
High School (9-12)