Build a wind-powered car using a Ziploc® brand bag as the sail. You’ll learn about the engineering behind basic vehicles and how different components impact the overall functionality. Conduct experiments to see how distance, speed, and time are all related. How far can you make your car go? How fast did it get there? How long did it take?

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In engineering and design thinking, there's often more than one solution to a problem. In this project, the challenge is to make a wind powered car that goes as far and as fast as possible. There are three components of the car’s design that you can experiment with — the base, the sail, and the wheels. We’ve provided one car design here, but try thinking outside the box. Can you make the base a different shape or size? Can you build a car with only three wheels?

You’ll run multiple trials to compare each design. You can even use the printable Experiments Log to record data on distance, time, and speed. Challenge your friends to make their own wind-powered cars and race to see whose design works best!

Connections with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Engineering Design MS-ETS1-2

Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

Design and build a wind-powered car. Conduct trials to measure distance and speed. Modify the design and conduct multiple trials to observe the impact. Evaluate the results to determine how well each design solution worked.