Project Set Up and MaterialsSmarty and her GATE friends built these air-powered cars in their after school enrichment class led by the team from San Jose Children Discovery Museum. They were given the following materials
- Plastic or cardboard platforms
- Bottle caps with drilled holes and mini plastic wheels (Smarty used both on her car)
- Foam Pipe insulation cut into about 4-5 inches tubes
- Large popsicle sticks
- Duct tape
- Low temp glue guns
- Paper clips
- Plastic propellers
- Rubber bands
Making a Balloon-Powered Car1. Create axels and attach them to the bottom of your platform. The wheels should be able to rotate easily and be more or less aligned.
2. Use a hot glue gun or duct tape to attach an insulation pipe “cabin” that will eventually house an engine. Make a cut in the pipe to accommodate a straw or a popsicle stick
3. Attach a straw securely to a balloon with a masking tape. That connection should be airtight. Then attach a straw to an engine.
4. Test your car:
Making A Propeller-Driven CarSteps 1 and 2 are the same. In the step 3, you need to construct a winding mechanism. When I came over to pick up Smarty after the class, she was still struggling with it and needed some help from the instructor on that part.
Step 4. Test your propeller-driven car. Smarty’s car actually works rather well!
Your TurnHave you ever built an air-powered car with your kids? They make great DIY toys!
Gifts for Future Auto Engineers
More Engineering Ideas for Kids?From this blog:
- Design and build a boat that floats
- Design and build a Lego egg racer
- Design and build a roller coaster
- 12 Amazing Engineering Projects for Kids
- 12 Outside Engineering Projects for Kids
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