All STEM Activities

Build a Rubber Band-Powered Car

Active Time
20-30 minutes
Total Project Time
20-30 minutes
Key Concepts
Potential energy, kinetic energy, simple machines
Rubber band powered car with cardboard body and CDs for wheels

Introduction

Admit it, you've probably launched a rubber band at least once—pulled one end back, and let it go flying. Did you ever suspect that rubber bands could also be a fun way to learn about physics and engineering? Find out in this project where you'll build a rubber band-powered car.

Credits

Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,200 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

Note: this is an engineering design project. The following is a suggested list of materials, but you can substitute different ones.

  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Two drinking straws
  • Two wooden skewers
  • Four CDs (that are okay to get scratched)
  • Sponge
  • Paper clip
  • Assorted rubber bands
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Flat, hard surface for testing your car
  • Hot-glue gun (optional)

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Active Time
20-30 minutes
Total Project Time
20-30 minutes
Key Concepts
Potential energy, kinetic energy, simple machines