Balloon Powered Cars

  • Math Brainteaser: [5-10 minutes] – (Blank)
  • Hook: [5 minutes] – Discuss Newton’s Third Law of Motion using real-life examples.
  • Lesson and Activity: [20 minutes] – Build and test balloon-powered cars.
  • Cleanup and Discussion: [10 minutes] – Questions: “How does Newton’s Third Law apply to your car?” “What modifications could improve your car’s performance?”


  1. Arduino unit to determine acceleration
  2. Balloon: The main source of power for the car. Larger balloons can provide more air capacity and potentially more power.
  3. Straw: For the balloon nozzle. This helps direct the air from the balloon out the back of the car, propelling it forward.
  4. Flexible Tubing: To connect the balloon to the straw. It should fit snugly around both the balloon and the straw.
  5. Body of the Car: This can be made from various materials:
    • Lightweight cardboard or foam board for the frame.
    • A plastic bottle or a small cardboard box can also work.
  6. Wheels: You can use:
    • Bottle caps, CDs, or small plastic wheels if available.
    • Axles for the wheels, which can be made from bamboo skewers, straws, or dowels.
  7. Support for Axles: To hold the axles in place, you can use:
    • Straws or eyelets glued to the underside of the car body.
  8. Tape: To attach the balloon and tubing to the car and to secure other parts as needed. Duct tape or masking tape is preferable for its strength and ease of use.
  9. Scissors or a Craft Knife: For cutting the materials to size.
  10. Glue or Hot Glue Gun: For assembling parts of the car that need to be firmly attached.
  11. Ruler: For measuring and ensuring parts are the correct size.
  12. Decorating Materials: Optional, like markers, stickers, or paint for personalizing the cars.
  13. Safety Goggles: If using a hot glue gun or cutting tools.