by Andrew Gordon
Fourth grade students at James Bean school recently built balloon-powered cars as part of a unit on force and motion. Students learned about Newton’s three laws and how friction impacts movement. Students planned and built their cars out of mostly recycled materials. After building, they tested their car and made adjustments based on observations and data collection.
Students competed in 3 categories; fastest car to travel 3 meters, car that traveled the farthest distance, and “coolest looking” car based on peer vote. “My car weighed only 20.2 grams, which means it had little mass and needed less force to move,” said 4th grader Vanessa Merritt who won both the speed races and “coolest-looking” car. Juliette Nielsen’s car traveled the farthest at 8.4 meters.