What is IIHS-HLDI?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries and property damage from motor vehicle crashes through research and evaluation and through education of consumers, policymakers and safety professionals.

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) shares and supports this mission through scientific studies of insurance data representing the human and economic losses resulting from the ownership and operation of different types of vehicles and by publishing insurance loss results by vehicle make and model.

Both organizations are wholly supported by these auto insurers and insurance associations.

How can I use this resource?

With Crash Science in the Classroom students and teachers in grades 5-12 can explore the science behind what happens in a car crash — both to the car and to those inside it — and discover why some vehicles are safer than others.

The website expands on the topics explored in the Institute's two award-winning science education films

  • Understanding Car Crashes: It’s Basic Physics — Teaches the principles of Newton’s Laws with lessons that challenge students to use pennies, index cards, and the magician’s tablecloth trick to explore inertia; ruler ramps to explore mass; a paper landing-pad for a dropped egg to examine force; and more.
  • Understanding Car Crashes: When Physics Meets Biology —Examines the impact physics has on the human body with stretch-tests on homemade silly putty to learn how crash test dummies are engineered; experiments to see how vehicle safety features manage force and pressure; and road tests to create their own highway-safe egg-carrying paper car!

Further explore the site for:

  • Additional engaging, classroom-tested videos
  •  Ready-to-use inquiry activities
  • NGSS-aligned lesson plans
  • Real-world applications of STEM concepts
  • Career connections
  • Behind-the-scenes tours of the IIHS Vehicle Research Center
  • Teacher Tips videos, answer keys and more
What are the goals of this website?


The goals of the Crash Science in the Classroom website are to:

  • Reduce the losses — deaths, injuries and property damage — from crashes involving teenagers on the nation's roads;
  • Provide students and teachers access to real-world, IIHS-related STEM experiences relevant to crashworthiness and crash avoidance technologies, and are pedagogically effective and outcome-oriented;
  • Produce content-rich, pedagogically effective instructional videos and materials aligned with national STEM education reform efforts to increase students’ and teachers’ STEM content knowledge, practices, and career awareness;
  • Demonstrate how STEM concepts and practices are applied and integrated by IIHS engineers and scientists to evaluate and thus promote innovations in crashworthiness and crash avoidance technologies; and
  • Promote awareness of and appreciation for the IIHS’s mission.
How does this site help teachers integrate these resources into their curriculum?

When registered and signed in, teachers may access complete standards-based lesson plans, student activity sheets, lesson overviews, Teacher Tips videos, answer keys, and more.

After clicking on a Teachers tab, teachers will find Lesson Steps that outline the recommended sequence of steps to successfully prepare for and implement each Understanding Car Crashes video, hands-on activity, or demonstration.

These Lesson Steps also direct teachers to each activity’s accompanying Teaching Tips video, as well as the Teacher Lesson Plan that includes key questions, lesson objectives, NGSS correlations, background information, materials lists, detailed procedures, and extensions.

Is this site compatible with the 5E Instructional Model?

Yes, the 5E Instructional Model played a significant role in the development process of the Crash Science in the Classroom website and lessons. This research-driven model describes a five-stage teaching sequence that can be used for entire programs, specific units and individual lessons.  The model consists of the following stages or phases: engagement, exploration, explanation, elaboration, and evaluation. Each phase represents part of the process of helping students sequence their learning experiences to construct their understanding of concepts.  This model is the work of Rodger Bybee and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS). Tables 1 and 2 provide specific information (i.e., teacher and student consistent and inconsistent actions) regarding the implementation of the 5E instructional model.

Click here to download a PDF of Tables 1 and 2.

What Next Generation Science Standards are met?

More information about standards can be found on the NGSS Alignment page.

How do I find more information about Griff Jones?

More information about Griff Jones can be found here.

Where can I submit feedback?

Please fill out the form on our feedback page to submit feedback about Crash Science in the Classroom.

How was the website developed?

IIHS collaborated with the University of Florida College of Education's Department of E-Learning, Technology and Communications Services to create the site. The educational materials were written by Dr. Griff Jones with extensive input from university professors, classroom teachers, physicians, engineers, students and school administrators. (For list of participants in the development and review groups see Acknowledgements.)

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