Traffic Light Timing: Math Game

Pull a Chris Angel and magically predict when the light will turn red!
Submitted by
Kayla Chong
Next time you approach a yellow light, impress your kids with your magical prediction skills. Then teach 'em a counting game, a traffic school lesson and a physics lesson all in one.
• You
Those constant passengers in your Parental Taxi.
• Traffic lights:
If you live in a one street/one traffic light town, you may have to drive around the block a few times.
• Next time you're out driving, pay attention to and take note of the speed limit signs as you're approaching traffic lights.
• Divide the speed limit by 10 and remember your number.
• When you see a light turn yellow, start counting silently to yourself. Your number is the number of seconds before the light turns red. So if you're in a 50 mph zone, a yellow light will turn red in five seconds.
• When the light is about to turn red, start counting it down, out loud, saying "Three, two, one. Presto change-o!" as the light changes.
• After a few lights (and when you're feeling sufficiently like a rock star magician), let them in on the secret.
• For older kids, consider asking a few questions about why the lights might be set that way. Call on your high school physics and driver's ed classes so you can mention momentum, distance, reaction time and stopping distance in your answers.
• Let your kids try the trick for themselves to see if it works. Let them do it the next time their friends are in the car and act really impressed when they amaze them.
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