Our Pit stop activities are a KS3 mathematics resource originally developed with teachers and curriculum specialists as part of the cre8ate maths project. They are designed to motivate mathematics students to investigate the performance of the solar car kits through a series of practical data gathering challenges. These materials can also be used for the basis of activities for KS2 and KS4 students.
The activities are all about collecting real data and then analysing it. Within the How fast…? and Hill climb activities there is scope to discuss the different ways in which a gradient can be displayed i.e. ratio, percentage, decimal, angle. Time and distance data is collected to calculate the car’s speed for the various surfaces and the results used throughout other activities. Distance time graphs motivate interesting discussion of the cars racing performance over different race tracks in the Race your car activity. Bringing it all together the Formula 8 race meeting involves estimation, collecting race times and determining the finishing position.
We recommend using solar cars in natural daylight as solar cells are optimised to work in this quality of light. Using a solar car under artificial lighting conditions will compromise performance.
Before racing pupils will need time to construct and fine tune their model cars. See our resources on building the solar car for help with this.
Downloadable Pit Stop materials
Pit Stop Teacher Notes
Read me first guide to curriculum focused activities and practical implications
Pit Stop Activity Sheets
Both the Solar Detective and Pit Stop materials are built around an approach that is centred on the Solar Car kit at its heart. The relevant and contemporary context around sustainable issues supports an approach to learning that focuses on using our Solar Car kits to stimulate student’s interest.
Our Kits act as fun, motivational and memorable activities that involve real life applications of scientific and mathematical concepts whilst providing opportunities to use inventive, creative, problem solving and solution focused skills crucial to both wider curriculum and employability skills. In addition nurturing inventive thinking; making science, technology and mathematics enjoyable to learn and teach. Kits are available from our online shop.
In doing this activity students have opportunity to develop a range of skills from the skills builder approach including.
Listening: The receiving, retaining and processing of information or ideas
Speaking: The oral transmission of information or ideas
Problem Solving: The ability to find a solution to a situation or challenge
Creativity: The use of imagination and the generation of new ideas
Staying Positive: The ability to use tactics and strategies to overcome setbacks and achieve goals
Aiming High: The ability to set clear, tangible goals and devise a robust route to achieving them
Leadership: Supporting, encouraging and developing others to achieve a shared goal
Teamwork: Working cooperatively with others towards achieving a shared goalSpeaking, Problem Solving, Teamwork.
You can find out more about Skills builder from