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Lesson – Wind Powered Vehicle Experiment

Overview

Title: Wind Powered Vehicle Experiment
Grade: 6th Grade
Duration: Two – 45 Minute Sessions
 
 
In this experiment, students will design, build, and test a small wind-powered sail car. After constructing the sail cars, they will then compete against each other to see which car will travel the farthest distance.

Standards

Science – CTE-TECED.68.MARTEC.04.03
Explain how wind has been used to propel ships.

Science – CTE-TECED.68.PWRENG.02.05
Construct a water-powered, wind-powered, steam-powered, thermal-powered, or solar-powered device.

Objective

In this experiment, students will design, build, and test a small wind-powered sail car. After constructing the sail cars, they will then compete against each other to see which car will travel the farthest distance.

Pre-planning for Experiment

Teachers, ask students to collect the following materials to bring to class (allow 2-3 weeks for collection of materials):

  • Plastic bottles and bottle caps
  • Milk cartons
  • Toilet paper rolls

*These materials are not necessary to make the sail cars; however, they will allow for a greater variation in car design and construction in terms of car body and wheel type.

Teacher Setup

  • Arrange a race course by using masking tape to mark the starting line. Give as much room as possible for cars to travel in length.
  • Place the fan or hair dryer behind the starting line and facing the race course.

Vocabulary

Wind PowerMotion • SurfaceRenewable Energy

Materials

  • Any electric fan or hair dryer

  • 3-5 Straws (per group)

  • 4 Lifesavers Candy (per group)

  • 1 Piece of Paper (per group)

  • 2 Paper Clips (per group)

  • 24 inches of tape (per group)

  • 1 pair of scissors

Procedure

  1. Working in teams of two, students will use the materials provided to design and construct a wind-powered sail car.
  2. The cars should be able to efficiently capture the wind in order to travel the farthest distance.
  3. They do not have to use all of the materials provided and may use the scissors to cut the paper and straws (or any of the materials brought from home).
  4. After 30 minutes for design and construction, cars will be tested on the designated race course by turning on the fan or hair dryer.
  5. The fan will be turned off once any car goes off the course boundaries or if the cars stop moving.
  6. The winner will be determined by the car that travels the farthest distance perpendicular to the starting line, or the point where the car traveled off the course boundary.