Lesson Plan

Rubber Band Racers

After reading a brief overview of automobile history and introduction to energy and motion, automotive engineering teams plan, construct, test, and evaluate a rubber-band-powered car. This manipulative experience can enrich understanding of kinetic and potential energy, so consider using the instructional activity in a physical science class or, as intended, an engineering class. The fine motor skills required for making the cars are beyond early elementary engineers, and the concepts are most likely beneath middle schoolers, so look to using this instructional activity with fourth-fifth grades.

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CCSS: Designed
NGSS: Designed
  • Engaging project is effective for building problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration skills
  • Designed to meet many national standards
  • Also adaptable to Common Core State Standards for literacy in science
  • The teacher's notes do not direct you to teach about kinetic and potential energy and the student resource only briefly mentions them; this is an ideal opportunity to introduce these concepts
  • Designing a working car out of simple materials may be too much of a challenge without a little more direction; consider looking up instructions for making a rubber-band-powered car