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written by Nathaniel Lasry
published by the Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development
Available Languages: English, French
This item is a 2-day experiential learning activity for introductory physics relating to circular motion and friction. In this scenario, students design a flat circular highway exit and determine, within a set of given constraints, what the exit speed limit should be.  Students will apply concepts of rotational kinematics, static and kinetic friction, and will explore the dynamics involved in an object moving in a circular path.  True to the PBL method,  students will sift through information to separate useful from irrelevant data, locate missing information on their own, and then apply physics in finding solutions.

This resource includes a printable student manual and a password-protected teacher's guide with solutions and tips for instructors. SEE RELATED ITEMS for a link to the full collection of PBL exercises by the same authors.
Editor's Note: Editor's Note: Problem-based learning exercises are designed to strengthen student competency in scientific reasoning and engineering practice. The activities mirror real scenarios encountered by practicing scientists and engineers. The actual doing of science sparks motivation for continued study as it helps kids appreciate science as both a discipline and a creative endeavor.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Applications of Newton's Laws
= Friction
- Motion in Two Dimensions
= Center of Mass
- Newton's Second Law
= Force, Acceleration
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Cooperative Learning
= Problem Solving
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Best practice
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Problem/Problem Set
= Student Guide
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Laboratory
- Assessment
- New teachers
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Access Rights:
Free access with registration and
Limited free access
Free for non-commerical use with attribution; teacher guide available only with registration.
© 2007 Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development, ccdmd.qc.ca
CCDMD, Newton's Second Law, PBL, Problem based learning, acceleration, angular acceleration, coefficient of friction, context rich, experiential learning, force interactions, friction, problem solving, project, rotational kinematics, static friction
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created November 9, 2009 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
September 20, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 31, 2008


Author: Cody Banks
Posted: January 17, 2015 at 5:21PM

Does anyone have the password for the teacher version of the assignment? I've requested a password several times and haven't gotten anything back from them.

» reply

Post a new comment on this item

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.
  • 9-12: 4F/H1. The change in motion (direction or speed) of an object is proportional to the applied force and inversely proportional to the mass.
  • 9-12: 4F/H7. In most familiar situations, frictional forces complicate the description of motion, although the basic principles still apply.

9. The Mathematical World

9C. Shapes
  • 9-12: 9C/H6. Both shape and scale can have important consequences for the performance of systems.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M5. The usefulness of a model depends on how closely its behavior matches key aspects of what is being modeled. The only way to determine the usefulness of a model is to compare its behavior to the behavior of the real-world object, event, or process being modeled.

12. Habits of Mind

12B. Computation and Estimation
  • 9-12: 12B/H2. Find answers to real-world problems by substituting numerical values in simple algebraic formulas and check the answer by reviewing the steps of the calculation and by judging whether the answer is reasonable.
  • 9-12: 12B/H3. Make up and write out simple algorithms for solving real-world problems that take several steps.
12D. Communication Skills
  • 9-12: 12D/H1. Make and interpret scale drawings.
  • 9-12: 12D/H6. Participate in group discussions on scientific topics by restating or summarizing accurately what others have said, asking for clarification or elaboration, and expressing alternative positions.
  • 9-12: 12D/H7. Use tables, charts, and graphs in making arguments and claims in oral, written, and visual presentations.
  • 9-12: 12D/H8. Use symbolic equations to represent relationships between objects and events.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)

MP.1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

High School — Number and Quantity (9-12)

Quantities? (9-12)
  • N-Q.2 Define appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling.
Vector and Matrix Quantities (9-12)
  • N-VM.3 (+) Solve problems involving velocity and other quantities that can be represented by vectors.

High School — Algebra (9-12)

Creating Equations? (9-12)
  • A-CED.2 Create equations in two or more variables to represent relationships between quantities; graph equations on coordinate axes with labels and scales.
Reasoning with Equations and Inequalities (9-12)
  • A-REI.1 Explain each step in solving a simple equation as following from the equality of numbers asserted at the previous step, starting from the assumption that the original equation has a solution. Construct a viable argument to justify a solution method.

High School — Geometry (9-12)

Modeling with Geometry (9-12)
  • G-MG.3 Apply geometric methods to solve design problems (e.g., designing an object or structure to satisfy physical constraints or minimize cost; working with typographic grid systems based on ratios).?

Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12

Key Ideas and Details (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.
  • RST.11-12.3 Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.

Common Core State Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6—12

Text Types and Purposes (6-12)
  • 2. Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. (WHST.11-12.2)

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Kinematics: The Physics of Motion
Unit Title: Circular Motion

Students will have fun as they design a flat circular highway exit and figure out what the exit speed limit should be. They will be applying concepts of circular motion, static friction, and kinetic friction. For the AP classroom, the activity can be extended to the design of a banked curve.  A complete instructor's guide is available free of cost to registered teacher-users.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
N. Lasry, (Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development, Montreal, 2007), WWW Document, (http://pbl.ccdmd.qc.ca/resultat.php?action=clicFiche&he=1050&afficheRecherche=99&IDFiche=141&endroitRetour=99&lesMotsCles=mass%20of%20a%20car).
N. Lasry, Problem Based Learning: Get Out! Designing a Highway Exit (Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development, Montreal, 2007), <http://pbl.ccdmd.qc.ca/resultat.php?action=clicFiche&he=1050&afficheRecherche=99&IDFiche=141&endroitRetour=99&lesMotsCles=mass%20of%20a%20car>.
APA Format
Lasry, N. (2008, December 31). Problem Based Learning: Get Out! Designing a Highway Exit. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development: http://pbl.ccdmd.qc.ca/resultat.php?action=clicFiche&he=1050&afficheRecherche=99&IDFiche=141&endroitRetour=99&lesMotsCles=mass%20of%20a%20car
Chicago Format
Lasry, Nathaniel. Problem Based Learning: Get Out! Designing a Highway Exit. Montreal: Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development, December 31, 2008. http://pbl.ccdmd.qc.ca/resultat.php?action=clicFiche&he=1050&afficheRecherche=99&IDFiche=141&endroitRetour=99&lesMotsCles=mass%20of%20a%20car (accessed 21 May 2024).
MLA Format
Lasry, Nathaniel. Problem Based Learning: Get Out! Designing a Highway Exit. Montreal: Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development, 2007. 31 Dec. 2008. 21 May 2024 <http://pbl.ccdmd.qc.ca/resultat.php?action=clicFiche&he=1050&afficheRecherche=99&IDFiche=141&endroitRetour=99&lesMotsCles=mass%20of%20a%20car>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Nathaniel Lasry", Title = {Problem Based Learning: Get Out! Designing a Highway Exit}, Publisher = {Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {21 May 2024}, Month = {December 31, 2008}, Year = {2007} }
Refer Export Format

%A Nathaniel Lasry %T Problem Based Learning: Get Out! Designing a Highway Exit %D December 31, 2008 %I Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development %C Montreal %U http://pbl.ccdmd.qc.ca/resultat.php?action=clicFiche&he=1050&afficheRecherche=99&IDFiche=141&endroitRetour=99&lesMotsCles=mass%20of%20a%20car %O application/ms-word

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %A Lasry, Nathaniel %D December 31, 2008 %T Problem Based Learning: Get Out! Designing a Highway Exit %I Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development %V 2024 %N 21 May 2024 %8 December 31, 2008 %9 application/ms-word %U http://pbl.ccdmd.qc.ca/resultat.php?action=clicFiche&he=1050&afficheRecherche=99&IDFiche=141&endroitRetour=99&lesMotsCles=mass%20of%20a%20car

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Problem Based Learning: Get Out! Designing a Highway Exit:

Is Part Of Problem Based Learning for College Physics

This is the full collection of Problem-Based Learning activities compiled and written by the same authors. Topics include kinematics, dynamics, work and energy, circular motion, and conservation of energy.

relation by Lyle Barbato

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