STEM & Maker Activity 18

Air-Powered Car
Supplies, instructions, resources, and worksheets are below!

Air-Powered Car

Project Description
In this STEM project, you’ll learn how air can power a car and propel it to move forward. The goal of this project is to design and build a balloon-powered car that will travel as far as possible, and learn about alternative forms of energy.

Activity Time
1-2 days
Adult supervision required with cutting materials

Supplies Recommended
Investigative Worksheet
CDs or other round object with hole in the center to use for the wheels (8)
Latex balloons, 9 inch (4)
Straws (4)
Wooden pencils (4)
Sheets of paper
plastic water bottle
Rectangle piece of card board
Empty toilet paper or paper towel role
Tape measure or ruler

Learning Objectives
Improve design and critical thinking skills
Improve testing and recording skills
Understand there are other ways to power vehicles than gas
Understand Newton’s Third Law of Motion

Vocabulary Terms to Understand
Look up each word and write their definition on paper.
air pressure
potential energy
kinetic energy

Instructional Videos:

1. Print the Investigative Worksheet.
2. Watch the Instructional Videos above for ideas on how to make the balloon-powered car. You will make two (2) cars and then test each one for how far they will travel.
3. Use the Internet to investigate different auto designs and how to build a car.
4. Use any supplies you want to build your car. The goal is to design a car that will go the furthest when testing.
5. After your two cars are built and ready, find a testing area such as a long hallway. Test how far each car will travel and record it on the Investigative Worksheet by drawing a chart.

What is potential energy?
What is kinetic energy?
What would you do differently to improve your design?
What is Newton’s Third Law of Motion

More Resources
Britannica: Isaac Newton
Ducksters: Laws of Motion
The Physics Classroom: Newton’s Third Law
Scientific American: Build a Balloon Powered Car
Compressed Air as an Alternative Form of Energy