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Car Race Model
written by Andrew Duffy
supported by the National Science Foundation
The Car Race model is a Java-based simulation that will help students visualize the difference between constant velocity and constant acceleration. It features the classic physics scenario in kinematics: a lead car travels at constant velocity on a straight track, while a second car moves from rest with constant acceleration in the same direction. Each time the game is reset, the position and velocity of the lead car change, while the acceleration of the second car also changes. Which car will win?

SEE ANNOTATIONS (below) for an interactive tutorial on the topic of velocity and acceleration, recommended by The Physics Front editors.

This item was created with Easy Java Simulations (EJS), a modeling tool that allows users without formal programming experience to generate computer models and simulations. To run the simulation, simply click the Java Archive file below. To modify or customize the model, See Related Materials for detailed instructions on installing and running the EJS Modeling and Authoring Tool.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java (JRE).
1 supplemental document is available
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Motion in One Dimension
= Acceleration
= Position & Displacement
= Velocity
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Middle School
- Upper Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Interactive Simulation
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a GNU General Public License Version 3 license.
Rights Holder:
Andrew Duffy, Boston University
EJS, Easy Java Simulation, acceleration, constant acceleration, constant velocity, kinematics, race, race car simulation, velocity
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created April 27, 2010 by Mario Belloni
Record Updated:
June 2, 2014 by Andreu Glasmann
Last Update
when Cataloged:
April 16, 2010
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 9-12: 11B/H3. The usefulness of a model can be tested by comparing its predictions to actual observations in the real world. But a close match does not necessarily mean that other models would not work equally well or better.

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (1993 Version)


F. Motion
  • 4F (3-5) #1.  Changes in speed or direction of motion are caused by forces. The greater the force is, the greater the change in motion will be. The more massive an object is, the less effect a given force will have.


B. Models
  • 11B (9-12) #1.  The basic idea of mathematical modeling is to find a mathematical relationship that behaves in the same ways as the objects or processes under investigation. A mathematical model may give insight about how something really works or may fit observations very well without any intuitive meaning.
Recommended Supplementary Tutorial (Editor: Caroline Hall)
Date: 06/09/2010

The Physics Front editors recommend the following interactive tutorial on velocity and acceleration by Tom Henderson, author of The Physics Classroom collection. Using an engaging format with animations and interactive questions, the author helps students see how velocity is different from speed, what acceleration means, and how each can be represented in terms of an object's position vs. time.

The Physics Classroom: Speed, Velocity, and Acceleration (html)

ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
A. Duffy, Computer Program CAR RACE MODEL (2010), WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9999&DocID=1635).
A. Duffy, Computer Program CAR RACE MODEL (2010), <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9999&DocID=1635>.
APA Format
Duffy, A. (2010). Car Race Model [Computer software]. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9999&DocID=1635
Chicago Format
Duffy, Andrew. "Car Race Model." https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9999&DocID=1635 (accessed 26 September 2017).
MLA Format
Duffy, Andrew. Car Race Model. Computer software. 2010. Java (JRE) 1.5. 26 Sep. 2017 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9999&DocID=1635>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Andrew Duffy", Title = {Car Race Model}, Month = {April}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%A Andrew Duffy
%T Car Race Model
%D April 16, 2010
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9999&DocID=1635
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Computer Program
%A Duffy, Andrew
%D April 16, 2010
%T Car Race Model
%8 April 16, 2010
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9999&DocID=1635

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Car Race Model:

Is Based On Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool

The Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool is needed to explore the computational model used in the Car Race Model.

relation by Mario Belloni

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