My intention had always been to do a pinewood derby. I am sure that does not stem from any decades-old jealously about boyscouts getting to do the cars, and girlscouts having a mall sleepover. Unfortunately, pinewood derby cars are actually expensive so I put the idea on the back burner until I ran across a balloon-powered rocket car in one of the makerlab books.
The instructions called for pop bottle tops for wheels, a cardboard car, toothpick axles, a straw, and a balloon. I figured that was easy enough to get together and I was gifted a big bag of toilet paper rolls to use as car bodies. I put together my sample car and all was well. Until the kids showed up.
Some kids did not understand the instructions on how to put the car together. I had printed instructions, I had verbal instructions, I had a complete example. And I don’t mean the little kids had problems, it was the tweens. So they sat there and didn’t do anything. The kids that did get cars assembled had wheels falling off all the time. It took forever to do 8-9 races. But despite all the setbacks, most of the kids had fun.
But if I did this again I would do water bottle bodies, and get some kind of wheel system because bottle tops and toothpicks were a huge pain!
Activity: Build & race balloon-powered rocket cars