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Ballon Powered Car Project

2007 Fastest Speed Winner

2.39 Meters per Second

2007 Total Distance Winner

21.31 Meters

2007 Fastest Speed Winner in Period 1

2007 Total Distance Winner in Period 1

2007 Fastest Speed Winner in Period 2

2007 Total Distance Winner in Period 2

2007 Fastest Speed Winner in Period 5

2007 Total Distance Winner in Period 5

2007 Fastest Speed Winner in Period 6

2007 Total Distance Winner in Period 6

2007 Fastest Speed Winner in Period 7

2007 Total Distance Winner in Period 7

Important Guidelines and Information:

Balloon Powered Car Project - this is an in-class partner project with a partner PowerPoint presentation. At the end, you will also create a Podcast Project Summary. Materials are gathered from group members to build the balloon powered car. The goal is to apply what we've learned about mechanical interactions by building a rocket car that minimizes friction and drag. During testing, we will calculate average speed and take many measurements. We then will analyze the interactions and forces involved in our cars. The most challenging aspect of this project is collaborating with others. Every group member must contribute their ideas BEFORE construction of their rocket car. Another challenge is the actual construction of the car. You will run in to some technical issues (car turns, ballon drags on ground, parts fall off your car, or it just doesn't work at all!) that will require more collaboration with your partner to solve.

Project Sequence:

Project Rules/Guidelines:

  • You will be given only two 9 inch ballons to power your car.
  • The car must only be powered by two balloons.
  • The car must be made from simple materials, nothing prefabricated.
  • The car may not leave the ground and have at least 3 wheels

Car Testing:

  • Premeasure a distance of 5 meters.
  • One car will race at a time. One team member prepares the car at the starting line.
  • Cars take off at "Go!" Timers start.
  • Time will be taken twice at 1m, 2m, 3m, 4m, 5m, and at car stop (total run time).
  • Cars continue pass the finish line until they stop.
  • Measure total distance traveled.
  • Each car will be allowed three trial runs only if necessary. This allows a second or third chance if the car turns, balloon pinches, etc. If the car makes a successful run, we will only use this data.
  • Grading for car performance: less than 1 meter: 0 points, 1 meter: 100 points, 2 meters: 200 points, 3 meters: 300 points, 4 meters: 400 points, 5 meters or more: 500 points.

Assignment Documents:

Car Pictures (PHOTOS WERE TAKEN BY STUDENTS):

Period 1

Period 2

Period 5

Period 6

Period 7

 

Helpful Links for Research:

NASA Balloon Powered Car Contest - An engineering contest held at NASA's JPL in Pasadena, CA.

PBS Kids Balloon Car Interactive Model - A program is available here that allows you to see how variables affect a balloon powered car.

Science Squad - Has one design idea to build a balloon powered car.


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