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2000 Provincial School Challenge
Balloon Buggie Results are in.

Event 1: Balloon Buggies (Grades 1-6)

The Challenge

To design and construct a balloon-powered vehicle that will travel along a straight path and the furthest distance.

You Will Need:

1 (750 mL – 1 litre) plastic bottle from pop, water, vinegar, etc.

2 round balloons (circumference when inflated may not exceed 120 cm)

4 35mm film canister lids

6 drinking straws

50 cm of duct tape

2 rubber bands (Format 64, ¼" width x 3½" length)

2 bamboo skewers


Students may use only the materials listed above to construct their vehicles. They have a maximum time limite of one half hour for the construction of their Balloon Buggy. Note: Keep track of the time used by each team to build their buggy. The challenge is to harness the potential energy of a single inflated balloon and design a vehicle powered by this balloon that will roll in a straight path the furthest distance. All materials must be used and contained within or affixed to the buggy (nonfunctional materials must be used as a ballast). The extra balloon may be used if the first balloon breaks or if a team wishes to use a fresh engine for their second attempt. If both balloons break, the vehicle is disqualified.

Regardless of the balloon’s size, its inflated circumference may not exceed 120 cm (a previously measured, cut piece of string can serve as a convenient measuring device). Once a buggy has been launched, it may not be touched until the balloon has deflated, the vehicle has come to a stop, and the distance traveled has been recorded.


Each team should be given two attempts to launch their Balloon Buggy. The furthest distance of the two runs will be officially recorded and submitted as the final result. The team whose buggy travels the furthest distance in a straight path will be the winner. Note: Not all of the buggies will travel in a straight path. If this should happen, measure only the distance traveled in the straight path to the point where the buggy veers off. In the event of a tie, the buggy designed in the shortest time will be declared the winner.

Rules and Regulations

  1. The contest is open to Alberta students in Grades 1 through 6.
  2. Submissions may be made by groups no larger than four. All students in a group should be in the same grade.
  3. All results must be received by APEGGA before 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 17, 2000. Please include the distance traveled by the winning buggy, the names of the team members, grade level, the school and address and a teacher contact.
Mail fax or email results:

Science Challenge
1500 Scotia One
10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5J 4A2
Fax (780) 425-1722

If you have questions or concerns, please call Tracy at (780) 426-3990 or toll free at 1-800-661-7020 or Stacey at (403) 262-7714.

Things to Talk About

  • Identify the components of a real car and discuss the purpose of each.
  • Compare and contrast the students’ buggies with "real" cars they are familiar with.
  • Discuss the variables of the design that could be modified to change the distance traveled. Why are these variables important and why would their redesign yield a different result.
  • Discuss how energy is harnessed and used. What sources of energy are used daily to help us accomplish tasks?


If you would like to include photos of your schools’ participation in the School Challenge, please forward them to the same address as the official results. Photos may be used on the APEGGA Student web page. Please include authorization to use photos for publication purposes. Note that photos will not be returned.
































































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Edmonton Office
15th Floor, Scotia One
10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4A2
Phone: (780) 426-3990
1-800-661-7020 toll free
Fax: (780) 426-1877

Calgary Office
2200, Scotia Centre
700 2nd Street SW
Calgary, AB T2P 2W1
Fax: 403.269.2787
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