Tech Warriors and Little Learning Warriors joined up again this week to design and build a model car that can travel using the thrust created by releasing the air from a balloon!
The students watched as their instructor inflated a balloon and released it, letting it fly around the room. “The air rushing out of the balloon created a force that pushed the balloon around the room,” they were informed. “That force came from the energy stored in the stretched balloon. It’s the same energy that allows you to launch a rubber band when you stretch it, or jump high on a trampoline. Energy is what causes movement or change. You are going to see if you can use the energy in a stretched balloon to make your car move.”
In groups of 4 to 5 students, the teams set off on their challenge to design the car that will travel the farthest down a straight track, propelled by the balloon’s release of air. The students thought about the shape and size of the car body, wheels, how and where to attach the balloon, and designed their cars to be what they agreed would be most conducive to the challenge.
After the cars were constructed, the students measured a distance of 10 – 15 feet and the teams lined up on the starting line, inflated their balloons and released them after the countdown. The winner was the car that traveled the farthest, and afterwards they all discussed and explored ways each car’s design could be improved upon to allow them to travel farther, faster, and more efficiently, thinking like young engineers and hands-on problem solvers. Way to go, Warriors!