Wind Propeller Powered Car

With this activity students will learn electricity basics, how to create a simple circuit using a DC motor, AA batteries and a switch. The option of adding some led lights for an advanced project, converting the circuit into parallel, is always there.

They will also understand how energy transmission and conversion work, choosing between 2 types of cars:

  1. Battery + Wind Propeller Car
  2. Solar Panel + Wind Propeller Car

Materials will depend on the type of car the student choose:

  • 2 Straws
  • 2 Wooden Skewers
  • 4 Bottle caps
  • 3V DC Motor
  • AA Battery Holder with Switch or Solar Panel
  • Wind Propeller
  • 2 AA Batteries
  • Any kind of box or container (for the body of the car)

Tools:

  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Cutting Pliers
  • Pencil and paper

 Activity - Building an Electric Car

  1. Students should choose the type of car they would like to build.
  2. Give a pencil and a piece of paper to each student, or group of students, so they design their own wind propelled car.
  3. Select the container (body of the car) that best suits to the design and type of car.
  4. Cut the straws an inch longer than the car body width.
  5. Cut the wooden skewers just a little longer than the straws and place them inside. These will work as axles.
  6. Grab 4 bottle caps and make a hole on them, right in the center. The size of the hole should be the same as the skewers thickness. 
  7. Hot glue the wheels to the axles. Make sure they have been held straight and vertical.
  8. Stick the battery holder or the solar panel on top of the container. Make sure it is located on the front part of the car.
  9. Stick the motor on top of the container, on the rear part of the car. Make sure the motor's axle is separated to the container so the propeller can be installed.
  10. Put the propeller in place, making sure it does not touch the container and it is in a vertical position.
  11. Connect the black wire from the battery holder or the solar panel to one of the terminals on the motor and the red one to the other one. Twist the wires to secure them.
  12. Add some batteries or place the car under the sun, turn the switch on and Race!!!

 

Encourage students to experiment different designs and solutions to stabilize the car. 

Is it running straight? Is it moving too slow? Does the solar energy move the wind propeller fast enough to move the car?

 

    Analyze the results:

    What happens if they build their own propeller?

    What if the size of the front and rear wheels is different?

    Which type of car is faster? Why?

     

     

     

    ISTE Standards

    4.c. Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.

    4.d. Students demonstrate perseverance when working with open-ended problems.  

    5.c. Students break down problems into smaller parts, identify key information and propose solutions.

    5.d. Students understand and explore basic concepts related to automation, patterns and algorithmic thinking.

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