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Balloon-Powered Car—2015 Engineering Challenge Results

Build a Balloon Car That Carries the Heaviest Load

The 2015 competition is over, but you can still try this challenge for fun! Can you build an air-powered balloon car that can travel from one end of a track to another? How heavy a load can it successfully transport?

Balloon Car: 2015 Engineering Challenge

Full details, including the building, testing, and scoring procedures, can be found in these formats:

Congratulations to All Participants

Designed to help students experience how real-life engineers design solutions and to show students first-hand how fun engineering can be, the 2015 Science Buddies Engineering Challenge, sponsored by Fluor Corporation, asked students to design, build, and test their own balloon-powered cars using limited materials. Science Buddies was thrilled to see the huge range of creative solutions engineered by K-12 students around the world in response to the challenge. Figure 1 shows a small sampling of the hundreds of balloon-car photos we received.

Figure 1. 2015 Engineering Challenge balloon-car samples.

Drawing Winners

Congratulations to the team from Coppell Middle School East in Coppell, Texas, whose team entry won the random drawing for the 2015 Science Buddies Engineering Challenge and earned $1,500 USD from Flour Corporation for their school! Additional prizes were awarded in each of four locations (Canada, Orange County, Houston, and Greenville).

Top Ten Scores Overall

Curious about how your car stacks up to entries from the 2015 Science Buddies Engineering Challenge? Figure 2 shows the distribution of scores across all entries received. The highest peak in the graph corresponds to the 20% of entries which scored between 4001 and 5000 points. In general, most entries (61% to be exact) scored 6000 or less points. The top ten highest scores are listed in Table 1. No matter what your score, a balloon car that can successfully roll along is worth a pat on the back!

2015 engineering challenge score distribution histogram
Figure 2. 2015 Engineering Challenge score distribution.

Top Ten Balloon-Car Scores
Team Name Student Age(s) Score
TESLA 2015 14 34,000
N/A 14-16 19,420
Anonymous 14 17,340
GTR 12-13 15,500
High Speed 15-16 13,340
David Crockett Middle School 11-14 12,290
Rollin' 15 11,190
Naomi 11 10,460
The Schilling Shuttle 11 10,420
The Jensen Jalopy 11 10,090
Table 1. 2015 Engineering Challenge top ten scores.
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