Kids love building things that move! Plus, it’s even more fun if you can make a car go without just pushing it or by adding an expensive motor. This rubber band powered car is an awesome engineering activity for your next STEM project time. There are lots of creative rubber band car ideas but you definitely need a rubber band and a way to wind it up! Are the gears whirring away inside your head yet? Make sure to check out our LEGO rubber band car design too!
HOW TO MAKE A RUBBER BAND POWERED CAR
SELF PROPELLED CAR
Get ready to add this simple rubber band car project to your STEM activities this season. If you want to find out how a rubber band car works and make your own, read on! While you’re at it, make sure to check out other fun physics activities.
Our STEM projects are designed with you, the parent or teacher, in mind! Easy to set up, quick to do, most activities will take only 15 to 30 minutes to complete and are heaps of fun! Plus, our supplies lists usually contain only free or cheap materials you can source from home!
Here you will make your own car from a combination of simple household items. Come up with your own rubber band car designs, or try ours below! The challenge is on… your car must have four wheels and only get its power from the energy stored in the rubber bands.
HOW DOES A RUBBER BAND CAR WORK
Have you ever stretched a rubber band and let it go? When you stretch a rubber band it stores a type of potential energy. When you release it, all that stored energy has to go somewhere. When you launch your rubber band across the room (or at someone), the potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, or the energy of motion.
Similar, when you wind up the car’s axle you stretch the rubber band and store potential energy. When you release it, the rubber band starts to unwind, and the potential energy is converted to kinetic energy or movement as the car is propelled forward. The more you stretch the rubber band, the more potential energy is stored, and the farther and faster the car should go.
How fast will your rubber band powered car go?
RUBBER BAND CAR
YOU WILL NEED:
- Craft Popsicle sticks
- Mini craft sticks
- Rubber bands
- Heavy screws or bolts
- Large plastic bottle caps
- Wooden skewers
- Hot glue gun
HOW TO BUILD A RUBBER BAND CAR
1. Place two craft stick side by side and carefully hot glue one miniature craft stick about 1” from each end.
2. Cut two 1/2” straws and glue horizontally to the two longer craft stick ends (facing the same way as the miniature craft sticks).
Cut a straw piece about 2.6” long and glue horizontally to the opposite end of the 1” straws.
3. Use the pointy end of a skewer to poke a hole through the center of each bottle cap.
4. Cut two 3.6” skewers and place one through the straws.
Place the caps onto the ends of the skewers and hot glue to secure.
5. Cut a 1” and 1/2” skewer, glue the 1” piece to the miniature craft stick on the front of the car (the end with the long straw) like pictured.
Glue the 1/2” on the back skewer of the car.
6. Glue a heavy bolt on each long craft stick on the back of the car.
7. Wrap a rubber band under the front of the 1” skewer and carefully dab a little hot glue on to hold in place.
Pull the rubber band and wrap the other end to the back underneath side of the 1/2” skewer and secure with glue.
Carefully pull the car back, wrapping the rubber band around the back skewer, once tightly wound, let go and watch your car go!
Looking for easy to print activities, and inexpensive problem-based challenges?
We have you covered…
MORE FUN STEM ACTIVITIES
- Popsicle Stick Catapult
- Egg Drop Project
- Quick Stem Activities
- Stem For Toddlers
- Recycling STEM Projects
- Engineering Projects For Kids
BUILD A RUBBER BAND POWERED CAR
Click on the image below or on the link for more fun self-propelled vehicle projects.