Science / Design & Technology KS2: Experimenting with reaction times

Children from New Invention Junior School in the West Midlands investigate their reaction times and how these are affected by distractions.

They use the ruler-drop test to measure how fast they react, and see how distractions such as doing a sum or remembering a series of letters effects their timings.

The more they practice, the better they get, so they introduce bigger distractions like the whole class playing musical instruments.

The experiment helps them to understand how hard it will be for Bloodhound's driver to concentrate and react quickly at 1000 mph, when there are many things to think about all at once.

This clip is from the series The Bloodhound Adventure.

Teacher Notes

This clip could be used following an initial discussion about human reaction times and their importance in everyday life.

The clip introduces the idea of the ruler drop test to investigate reaction times.

It contains details of how to perform a fair and meaningful test that could lead to investigations in class.

The children could be asked what they think affects reaction times in individuals and also consider adaptations in other animals.

This clip would also be useful throughout an area of study looking at multitasking and the power of the brain to multiprocess.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Science or Design and Technology at Key Stage 2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Level 2 in Scotland.

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