Balloon Powered Car Challenge

Are you up for the challenge?

Are you up for the challenge?

Can you build a car powered by nothing but air? This fun and easy challenge asks you to build with materials you already have around your house. Get ready to grab some simple supplies to bring your idea to life!

Today’s Objective: Design and build your own balloon-powered car that will travel as far and fast as possible.

Use whatever you want for this STEM challenge from items laying around your house. Below are some suggestions of things to try.

What you might need:
  • Balloons
  • Bottle caps
  • Paddle pop sticks
  • Scissors
  • Straws
  • Blu tac
  • Glue
  • Sticky tape
  • Paperclips
  • Old CDs
  • Old takeaway containers

For this one, we need to think about how things move. If you push down into the floor, you can push yourself up. If you kick a ball against a wall it bounces back. If you let the air out of a balloon, which way does the balloon go?

Can you build something around the balloon to harness its power?? Maybe try making some wheels first. Or attach it to a straw on a string so it zooms across the room! See how far you can get it to go!
Key concepts
  • Physics
  • Kinetic energy
  • Potential energy
  • Conservation of energy
  • Newton’s laws of motion

Engineering Design Process: 
Engineering and Science are very important parts of STEM. While on some levels they’re very similar (both experiment, both question, both run tests) they follow slightly different rules. 

 If you follow these 6 simple steps, you’ll be an engineer in no time. 
Engineers sometimes follow things called “design briefs”. They’re given a list of things their client wants and some limits (like price, material availability or size) and then they figure out the best way to build things. At Science Space, we call these “challenges”. But Engineers are always looking out for ways to make things work better. So look around you and challenge how things work – can you do it differently? 

Science and Engineering share this step. Exploration and research are vital. What are you building? What are some problems you need to overcome? Is someone already doing the thing you want to do? How can you make their design better or different? What things do you have at hand to use? All of these are important research questions you need to answer! 
Making plans and drawing up the things you want to make is really important. Keeping a track of things you’ve tried will also help you when you circle back to this step after testing things out. Sometimes engineers can go through thousands of prototypes before they get to the best one!
You’ve got to build it! 
Does your build do what you want it to do? Does it work? A note here too – you can build sections of your contraption or thing and test as you go. It all depends on what works best for the design and for you!
This is the final step before circling back to the “Design” phase. What would make your thing better? How can you change it to make it work? These last four steps can circle for ages before you hit on your final build.

Want to immerse yourself in science these school holidays? Visit our friends over at Science Space - the home to Australia's most digitally advanced Planetarium, PLUS over 90 interactive exhibits and so much more! Bookings are essential. 
Opening hours
Mon - 9am - 5.30pm
Tue - 9am - 5.30pm
Wed - 9am - 5.30pm
Thu - 9am - 9pm
Fri - 9am - 5.30pm
Sat - 9am - 4pm
Sun - 10am - 4pm
Wollongong Central
200 Crown Street
Wollongong NSW 2500
Phone: 02 4228 5999