Magnetic Levitation trains are a form of real-life, high-speed transportation that is used today. Trains in Germany and Japan travel at speeds of up to 350 MPH in these countries. With this unit, students learn about the concept of "levitating" trains which hover above an electrified magnetic track. By nearly eliminating friction, trains can glide along railways with very little use of electricity and still obtain very high speeds. These trains are an example of future forms of transportation that reduces our dependency on fossil fuels.
Students design, construct and test their own vehicles to travel down a track that measures 2 1/2 inches by 8 feet. They can power their vehicle using either wind generated from a fan or by conducting 12 volts of DC electricity through the side-rails into a small motor and propeller. With either power source, students have the opportunity to test ideas through the problem solving process.