Recycled Racers Project    Due 10/19

You will be building a balloon car. The principle at work is Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. As you build your balloon car consider how this law applies. What is the action? What is the reaction?



A moving balloon car has kinetic energy. Where does the balloon car gain the potential energy that changes into kinetic energy?


Work on your own to design a race car. Decide which type of recyclable products you will need. You must create your own wheels. You may use bottle caps, thread spools, or anything that was not designed to be a wheel. Plan your design so that the car will be light weight and so the wheels roll easily.  Your car should travel 5 meters using only the power of the inflated balloon.

Materials: You may not buy anything!

  • Recycled materials to build the vehicle (ex: soda can, water bottle, etc.)

  • 4 wheels (homemade)

  • 2 axles

  • 1 Balloon (10 inch diamater)

Before race day, complete the data table for 5 trials. Bring the completed data table on race day.


Use the rubric below to make sure you have followed all directions and to allow you the best opportunity to get the highest score possible on this project.


Requirements and Possible Points

1. Completed racer                                                                                           40 points


2. Racer reached 5 meter mark                                                                      20 points


3. 4 homemade wheels that roll                                                                     30 points

4. Complete data table 5 trials                                                                         20 points


Complete design plan that shows at least 3 improvements. THIS IS A SEPARATE GRADE.                                                                                                              40 points


Total  Points Possible 110 points for the racer



Prizes will be awarded for the cars that travel the farthest, fastest, and best looking.


STEM Career Connection: Industrial Engineer  

Industrial engineers determine the most effective way to use people, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or service.


Learn more: Download the TinkerBox app to play a fun physics and engineering puzzle game.


If you are absent on race day, you will still receive a grade but you will not be able to race against your classmates.


Name ____________________________________________________    Period _________


To be turned in on race day.


Data Chart

Trial 1   Distance                          Time                                Speed

Trial 2   Distance                          Time                                Speed

Trial 3   Distance                          Time                                Speed

Trial 4   Distance                          Time                                Speed

Trial 5   Distance                          Time                                Speed


REMEMBER the formula to find speed v=d/t.


NOTE: Your distance goal is 5 meters.





Name ______________________________________________ Period____


                                   Recycled Racer Reflection


Criteria and Possible Points

Clearly explains what was the most difficult part of building process.       10 points


Clearly explains changes made to car.                                                            10 points


Clearly explains why the changes were made.                                               10 points


Clearly explains how each of Newton’s Three Laws of Motion are demonstrated.

                                                                                                                             10 points


Describes what was the most fun and explains why.                                    10 points



Total Points Earned ________


On a separate paper write a reflection about the building process that includes the following. What did you find most difficult? What was the most fun? What changes you made to your car? Why did you decide to make these changes? How do Newton’s Laws of Motion apply to your car?  You should write a paragraph for each of these questions.



Rubric, reflection, data chart, and complete design plan due Race Day.


This project is worth a total of 200 points. This will be graded as three assignments in the mastery category.

               Each backpack skill is included in this project.