1: Balloon Buggies (Grades 1-6)
design and construct a balloon-powered vehicle that will travel
along a straight path and the furthest distance.
(750 mL – 1 litre) plastic bottle from pop, water, vinegar,
round balloons (circumference when inflated may not exceed
35mm film canister lids
cm of duct tape
rubber bands (Format 64, ¼" width x 3½" length)
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.
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.
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.
contest is open to Alberta students in Grades 1 through
may be made by groups no larger than four. All students
in a group should be in the same grade.
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.
fax or email results:
AB T5J 4A2
you have questions or concerns, please call Tracy at (780)
426-3990 or toll free at 1-800-661-7020 or Stacey at (403)
to Talk About
the components of a real car and discuss the purpose of
and contrast the students’ buggies with "real" cars they
are familiar with.
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
how energy is harnessed and used. What sources of energy
are used daily to help us accomplish tasks?
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.