Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Fun 2014 - Rubber Band Racers




We were challenged by a post from Planet Smarty Pants to exercise our engineering muscles, and build something.

The girls decided on rubber band racers, loosely following instructions from PBS-Kids' Design Squad Nation.

I worked with C (age 8) on hers.  E (age 9) was determined to design, build, and decorate her own car, after a very short lesson on how rubber band racers work.

We deviated from the PBS plans somewhat, using cardboard tube bodies, instead of flat sheets of cardboard.

And, we cut our rubber bands in half, so we could tie one end to the front axle, securing it with a piece of tape to hold it in place, as well as to make it possible to twist the band around the axle with a turn of the wheel.


The other end of the band was slipped through a slot cut at the back of the car...


...and taped on the outside.


The girls went on a search through the house to find toothpicks, straws, and wood skewers for axles, and anything that would roll, for wheels.  They tried out old, scratched up CD's, sturdy paper plates, circles cut from cardboard, milk caps, and even the bottoms of Dixie cups.


When they were happy with the basics of their designs, and had everything pretty well stuck together with yards of tape, and a little play dough thrown in for good measure, they went to work decorating their cars...


...for a Polly Pocket race.


I cut out a small square from the top of each car, with a razor blade, so the girls could slip in the dolls, before winding up the rubber bands, and setting them loose...



...to race back and forth across the kitchen floor.


They decided the winner was the car, that not only traveled the farthest, but did so in the straightest line...


...had the most stylish design...


...and was sturdy enough to stand up to...


...a crash, or two.

5 comments:

Angelic Scalliwags said...

I love these! You really do some great activities with your girls. I love the fact you tweaked the design because, really, that's what engineers do all the time. Just one question - which one won?

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Angelic Scalliwags - Mine, of course. Which is why it had to be able to withstand being crashed into :) E's did really well, once she added CD wheels, and used her cut cardboard wheels as wheel covers. The way she tied her rubber band though, caused it to catch and roll the car backward after it stopped - loosing ground.

Bethany said...

Wow! These are great. I'm pinning it out list of fun things to do!!

Ticia said...

I can just see the results of projects like these in my house, massive chaos as they root through my entire house to make them. Sounds kind of like fun.....

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

These are great! I was also going to ask which one won, but I see you've already answered that :)