DiRT Dash Directions

Object:
Beat your opponent to the finish line in each race.

Set-Up:
The game board is a patchwork of 25 rectangles, each representing one of three terrains: pavement, dirt, or water. Each race is run from the lower left to upper right, as indicated. Along the bottom of the screen, the odometers show you the speed your vehicle travels on each terrain. Also available on the screen are multiple tabs: Options, Race Stats, Personal Stats, and Graph. The Stats and Graph tabs give feedback data after the races.

Play:
For the best playing experience, close all other windows and applications on your computer.

Before each race, you have the option of changing your vehicle in the Options tab. Each vehicle travels along each terrain at different speeds. Scroll through the options and click Submit when you find the vehicle you would like to choose. Also in the Options tab, you can change the color of your vehicle and turn sound on/off.

Once you have chosen your vehicle and are ready to begin the race, click the Start button at the bottom of the screen. In two-player games, a timer may start the race automatically if Start is not clicked after a period of time. Once the race is underway, use either the A key or up arrow to move your vehicle forward. Left and right turn your vehicle left and right to move around the course. Your goal is to reach the finish line before your opponent. Avoid the obstacles to save time!

After a race is completed, the Race Stats tab opens automatically. Click outside the tab to close it and move on to the next race. You can also view the Personal Stats and Graph tabs to review details about the race. Click outside the tabs to close them. In the Graph tab, click Show Opponent to display that data on the graph as well.

After the game is over, you can review any previous race by clicking on that race number in the Race Stats tab. This will also display the path taken on the course itself.

Winning the Game:
The game is the best of 5 races. The player who wins 3 or more races wins.

Math Concepts: Distance, rate, and time

What You Can Do: The main learning point in this game is the relationship between distance, rate, and time.
When the distance is fixed, increasing rate decreases time. For example, if a course has a lot of water, then picking a vehicle that has a high water speed means you’ll probably get to the finish line sooner. You can also demonstrate this in the classroom, or at home, by using an online mapping program to look at a particular route. How does the travel time change when you take a car, ride a bike, or walk?
Assume that the rate is fixed, and investigate multiple paths to see how distance and time relate to each other. Students will be tempted to say that shorter distances will result in shorter times, but taking a shorter path doesn’t always result in decreased time. For example, if you drive on a short road that has multiple stop signs, it may actually take more time.
To further investigate, assume that the time is now fixed. How does rate and distance relate to one another?
Another exploration that can be done surrounds the idea of rate. Rate in this game refers to the speed of the vehicles, but it is a more general term that can apply to the ratio of other measures. Explore rate in other areas, such as heart rate in your body or interest rate in finances. For any rate investigation, try to develop an understanding of how changing one measure affects the others.

Math in the Game: A basic understanding of distance, rate, and time is usually fairly intuitive to students. If a single terrain is used on a course, students will always drive down the shortest path to the finish line. The game has many built-in features to strengthen understanding of the concepts for more complicated situations. After each race, feedback is given in the Race Stats and Graph tabs. By examining the distance-time graph, students can see how their vehicle performed on different terrains, contributing to the overall time and distance. The Race Stats tab also breaks details down by terrain.

Related Resources:
Two Terrains
Determining the Best Path for a Vehicle That Can't Go as Fast when It Travels Off-road
Dirt Dash: Planning the Fastest Route Across Various Terrains
The shortest distance between two points is a line. But what is the shortest time to travel between two points on different terrains?