Year 7 Science Challenge: Building Wind Powered Cars

Mr Emmanuel Hatzioannou’s Year 7 Science Class completed a wind-powered car construction challenge during this busy final Term 4.

His students formed seven small groups and were allocated two lessons to build a vehicle out of a plastic cup with their choice of wheels, plus various other equipment options like: straws, bags, ice cream sticks, sticky tape, plasticene, plastic sheeting, light wood dowels and paper etc.

Then each group’s student-engineered car was tested on how far it would travel when placed in front of a low pedestal fan on the classroom floor.

AND… we were there to see how their many varied car designs fared in action…

Each vehicle was given three chances to attain the longest distance, with ‘time outs’ between each run to make any emergency engineering improvements – based on the previous performance, while the other groups had their turns.

Here’s some highlights of how they went with the eventual winning group and their vehicle crowned victorious at the end…

Science Learnings: Larger and stiffer mounted wind sails generate more power and distance than smaller and loosely fitted wind sails, or bags that crumple easily loosing surface area and need filling with air before generating any forward motion.

Smaller wheels also seem to enable greater speed than larger and therefore heavier wheels, while obviously the lighter your vehicle’s body components, the further and faster it will travel.

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