Science is a Breeze!

    Build Your Own Wind-Powered Sled Car

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    1501_KCD_1Wind is a powerful source of energy that helps people, animals, and plants move around the world. Sailors have used wind power to navigate waterways for thousands of years! So is it possible to use wind to help us drive down the street, or even around the world? Try constructing your own sailing sled car and find out.

     

    What you need:

    • Two sheets of paper (card stock)1501_KCD_2

    • Tape

    • Scissors

    • Two straws

    • Four to eight Lifesavers candies

    • Clay or play-dough

    • Markers or crayons

    • Battery-powered fan (optional)

     

    1501_KCD_3What you do:

    1.Fold your paper in half lengthwise (the long way), then fold each half in half again to make four even sections.

    2.Use scissors to cut one of the quarter-section strips off. Cut as straight as possible; you will use this strip later.

    3.Next, cut each side from the top of one corner to the bottom of the other corner.

    4.Take the strip that you cut off in Step 2 and securely tape it to the two, angled sides and the front, so it looks like a ramp. It’s easier to tape the front first.
    It should look like a wedge of cheese when you finish.

    5.Fold one of your straws in half then cut it. The size of the straw pieces can vary depending on your sled car’s design.

    6.Tape both pieces to the bottom of your sled car to create two axles. You can have more than two axles if you want more wheels.

    7.Add four (or more) Lifesavers to your straw axles and put small balls of clay on the ends to keep your Lifesaver wheels from falling off. Don’t use too much clay; it will weigh down your car. Also, make sure the clay is not touching your wheels, which would interfere with their movement.

    8.You may have to add some clay or tape on your straw axle, between the body of your sled car and the wheel to keep it from moving around too much.

    9.At the back end of your sled car, create some flaps to work like sails. The flaps will help capture the wind so your sled car can go even faster!

    10.Use your markers to decorate your car.

    11.Place your sled car on a flat surface and blow into the back of it, or use a fan to make it move.

    12.Have fun! Try racing against the sled cars created by your friends and family. Think about which car went faster and why. The best engineers go through several designs before they find one that is just right.

     

    Challenge: Try modifying the body of your sled car, the number of wheels, the type or size of your wheels, or other variables, to see how it changes how your sled car moves when you blow on it.