I am super excited to present to and teach an engineering project at the Eane’s Elementary STEM day this month to 120 second graders. I came up with the idea that I wanted to make rubber band powered cars with the kids. I have this cool book Amazing Rubber Band Cars. I was contemplating doing the basic car they start with in the book, but there are too many layers for such a large number of students and with the time we have. Although, it would be a fun project to do with 4 or less kids. So, I came up with my own rubber band car using simple things I had laying around. This is a very economical option with a few steps, that uses the hot glue gun minimally. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Oh Yea, we all played with it.
What we used:
- one toothpick broken into parts
- hot glue and hot glue gun (low temp) We like this one that comes with stand.
- 6 rubber bands (We used these.)
- utility scissors
- 2- We used Woodpile Fun sticks 3.15″x 0.16″ sticks
- 2- 4 1/2″ popsicle sticks
- 2″ cardboard wheels with hole in center. You can cut out corrugated cardboard or if you need in bulk for classroom Maker Ready
- 2 bolts
- 4 nuts
- Cut straw 4x -1″ pieces or smaller ( I say 1″ pieces, since that will be straight forward for the kids to measure, but smaller may give you even more room in center to work with.)
2. Connect 2 rubber bands equalling the length of a 4.5″ popsicle stick. We used 32mm rubber bands for this project.
3. Cut toothpick into small pieces. Doesn’t have to be precise. This is what the rubber band will catch on to when you pull wheels back.
4. Put rubber bands around cardboard wheels to increase friction.
5. Twist stick (axel) into wheel hole. If the hole isn’t big enough, widen with a pencil.
6. Secure outside of wheel with hot glue.
7. String two straw pieces on each stick (axel).
8. Place wheel on other end, and secure with glue.
9. Spread straw pieces apart and hot glue small toothpick pieces in center.
10. Hot glue popsicle sticks on straws.
11. Hot glue bolts on the back of the car to weigh it down and decrease spin out. Add nuts as needed. It all depends on your size of bolt. With engineering it is all about testing and altering your design.
12. Attach rubber band to the front axel.
13. Connect rubber band loop to the back toothpick, twist to wind up, and release.
I think this is a great project for the kids at STEM Day. My contact at Eanes said,” In terms of their science standards, 2nd graders study force and motion. They are expected to trace the changes in position of an object over time, such as on a ramp. Vocab that they have been introduced to includes axle, ramp, force, and energy.” With this project we are working with elasticity, balance, motion, and mechanics. With older kids, I think this would be a great opportunity to introduce Newton’s Laws of Motion.
To add more art to this project, I will bring markers, glue, sequins, number stickers…
If you try out this project, let me know what you think or would change in the comments below. In the book I mentioned earlier Mike Rigsby says,” Engineering is the application of scientific principles (knowledge) to practical things that people use.” We are using a handful of things that you can most likely find around the house to create this fun rubber band power wind up toy.
I am happy to be included in Left Brain Craft Brain’s 28 Days of STEAM. Check link out to see more fun educational projects.
This is another rubber band car activity that we tried and really liked, but I don’t have 120 paper towel rolls for the kids at STEM Day.
This blog post contains affiliate links. Thanks, Amber