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Give me a brake


Investigate braking efficiency of cars and trucks by testing stopping distances under controlled conditions. Test effects of vehicle type, tyres, road surface and weather conditions. Choose driving speed, then apply brakes and compare stopping distances. Estimate distances from target markers. Answer questions about antilock braking systems and speed limits. This learning object is one in a series of two learning objects.

Educational details

Key learning objectives
  • Students relate stopping speed to driving speed, tyres and road conditions.
  • Students explore relationships between mass, friction and deceleration.
Educational value
  • Simulates a vehicle driving along a road with interactive controls for type of vehicle, speed, type of tyres, road surface and weather.
  • Allows students to start the vehicle moving then decide when to apply brakes in order to stop the vehicle at a target marker.
  • Shows the braking or stopping distance and the distance to the target.
  • Enables students to explore the variables that affect braking distance.
  • Provides a sample results table to print out.
  • Provides a glossary and topics for further research.
Year level

6; 7; 8; 9; 10

Learning area
  • science
  • Science/Science inquiry skills
  • Science/Science understanding
  • Science/Science inquiry skills
  • Science/Science understanding
    • Science/Motion
    • Science/Quantitative data
    • Science/Safety
    • Science/Simple experiments
    • Analysis;
    • Application;
    • Comprehension;
    • Knowledge
    Student activity
    • Interactives;
    • Experiment;
    • Analysis;
    • Modelling;
    • Estimation
    Learning design
    • Experiential learning;
    • Independent learning;
    • Problem solving;
    • Visual learning

    Other details

    • Subject matter expert
    • Organisation: Australian Science Teachers Association
    • Address: Canberra ACT 2600 Australia
    • URL:
    • Technical implementer
    • Publisher
    • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
    • Organisation: Education Services Australia
    • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
    • URL:
    • Subject matter expert
    • Name: Graham Coghill
    • Address: Marcus Beach QLD 4573 Australia
    Access profile
    • Colour independence
    • Device independence
    • Hearing independence
    Learning resource type
    • Tablet friendly (Interactive resource)
    • any - minimum version: Microsoft Edge (Windows); Default Android Browser
    • Google Chrome - minimum version: 35+ (Windows, macOS, Android)
    • Firefox - minimum version: 45+ (Windows & Mac)
    • ms-internet explorer - minimum version: 10+ (Windows)
    • Safari - minimum version: 7+ (Mac); Safari for iOS 9+ (iOS)
    Operating systems
    • ms-windows - minimum version: Vista+
    • macos - minimum version: 10.9+
    • ios - minimum version: 9+
    • android - minimum version: 5+
    • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2017, except where indicated under Acknowledgements. This material may be used in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) licence.