STEM Challenge: How to Make a Rubber Band Car

STEM Challenge: How to Make a Rubber Band Car


Hello I’m Jared, welcome to FunScienceDemos. Take a look at this. That is my new car. Today’s big idea is an engineering
challenge and we’re going to take a closer look at how to build this car and where
it gets its energy from. We’ve zoomed in, so you can see inside my car to see
where it gets its energy from. Take a look! It’s a rubber band. Watch what happens when I wind the car up. The rubber band gets stretched and that is my form of energy. I wind it up and now we’ll zoom out you can watch the wheel spin. So we’ve wound up our rubber band inside
the car and that energy is ready to do some work. It makes my car go fast! So we’ve cut our tube in half so you can get a better look at what’s going on inside of our car in the rubber band You can see I’ve joined two rubber bands
together here we’ll talk about how I did that in a second. All I do is I have a
wooden skewer and I’ve actually taped a bent paperclip to that skewer so I
can hook on my rubber band and now all I need to do is wind it up…wind wind wind.
My rubber band stretches and now I have all that energy ready to do some work.
Let it go and you can see my axle spin, even after the rubber bands off of it.
Now you can find a lot of different designs online for rubber-band powered
cars but we took a lot of time to think this through make it kid-friendly and
classroom-friendly. A lot of those designs required power tools and drills
and hot glue guns and and poking holes with hot items. Here we really designed
this to be kid-friendly, classroom friendly all you need are some really
basic supplies to make this car work. so what are those basic supplies? Well first
we’re going to take a look at the wheels. To do that I’m just going to pull this
off and you can see I have nothing more than a wooden skewer and these little
plastic wheels are the bottom to plastic cups. Take a look at this so this
is how we made our wheels now a lot of times people might try to cut them
draw a circle on cardboard but it’s difficult to get a really round wheel. We
find, why draw something round when we can find something that’s already round
and just use it. Take a look at the bottom of this cup. All I need to do is
take a pair of scissors cut into the cup down to the bottom, around and I have a
perfectly round wheel. So how do I make a hole without a power tool? To make our
hole all we need is a push pin. Now the nice thing about most cups there’s
markings on the bottom of the cup which helps us try to figure out where the
center of that cup is. So I’m just going to take my push pin and to be safe I’ll put
it on the table to get it started. I push it through and now I have the beginning
of a really small hole. How do I make it bigger? Well that’s where I use my wooden
skewer. You can see the end of my skewers tapered to a point, and that what that
allows me to do is push this through just by twisting and pushing it makes my
hole the perfect size and believe it or not the plastic makes it so that my
wheel doesn’t split. You can try using a paper cup or a Styrofoam cup but we’ve
found that hole actually gets too big so plastic is the way to go. So I cut out
two wheels, put it on my wooden skewer axle, and it’s time to see if this thing
actually rolls to do that I give it a little push and it works just great so I
have my two axles all made up I have my front axle my back axle and this rubber
band is going to stretch from the front of my tube and I have to connect it to the
back axle how do I do that well if you look in our car I use the thumbtack I
could tape a paperclip and bend it but it’s really difficult to bend the
paperclip just right especially if you’re a kid a thumbtack actually works
really well so let’s take a look at how to do that So we pulled the wheels off the back
axle and I’m going to take my thumbtack. I’m going to take my skewer put it down on the desk and this is the hardest part being really careful I’m going to push my
thumbtack into my skewer you might need to take something like a scissors and
just tap it and it’s got to look like your skewer splits we’re going to zoom in
so you can see what the wood does we’ve zoomed in so you can see what the wood
skewer does when I push the pushpin through you can see it starts to split
and that’s okay it actually makes it easier for the pushpin to push through
but we will want to put some tape around the skewer to keep it from splitting all
the way down so here we go so now all we’re going to do is take some tape any
tape will work and wrap it around my skewer on both sides to keep it from
splitting all the way down the skewer wrap it around and now I’m ready to put my wheels back
on one side another side and now I have my front and back axle ready to go so
how do we get our axles into our tube at just the right spot if I put it up too
high my wheels won’t be on the ground if I put it down too low my thumbtack will
actually hit the bottom of my tubes so all I did with my axle made up as I held
my axle just where I want it to go where the thumbtacks going to have just enough
clearance and then look at the side I made a mark on one side and the other
side where it hits and I drew a line all the way down my tube so that’s I know
that just the right spot to put my axle through to make the hole in the tube all
I need is my thumbtack I’ll make a new one for you goes right into my cardboard
tube work it around now how do I make that little tiny hole bigger that’s
where my skewer or a pencil comes in take that tapered point I want to push
and twist at the same time and now I have a little hole for my axle to go
right through so let’s put this through up pull my thumb pack out take one wheel
off through one other now all I have to do just put my thumb tack back in put my
wheel back on and now I have a spinning axle ready to go so the last thing you
look at is our energy source and how we attach it to the front of our car so I
used rubber bands that I put together to form a long string so how do I do that
well really simple I can overlap the two rubber bands and I’m just going to pull
that end and that end through and they’re joined I made that look really
easy you might struggle with that if you’re the first few times but once you
get it it’s a piece of cake so now we’ve zoomed in to show you how we attach this
and to do that I’m just going to pull off this piece of tape so you can see what’s
going on here and how simple it is all I have is a hole that I pulled the rubber
band through and to keep it from going through all the way I took a
part of the skewer and when I pull the rubber band it stays in place and put a
piece of tape so how do we make that hole let’s take a look at it so this is
metal but it’s a really thin metal let’s see if I can push this push pin right
through it and I got it right through wiggle it how do I make that hole bigger
the same exact way take my skewer a little more force and now I have a
bigger hole and if I need to make it even bigger I can use a pencil that’s
wider than that you may be even the tip of a scissors push it in spin it and now
I have a really big hole so I have my bigger hole now I have to thread my
rubber band through I can push it through and once I get this far enough
in I can reach in from the backside and pull it down the rest of the way then I
just take a little bit of skewer that I cut off tuck it under there pull it
tight and I’m ready to tape it in place so we have our rubber band car all
assembled how do we wind it up to make it work well so I’ve used the skewer to
reach in there and grab that rubber band and as I turn my axle the thumbtacks
going to catch it and now I can wind it up and you can experiment and play around
with how much you wind it how tightly wind the rubber band but you got to keep
one thing in your mind you have to figure out which way to wind it to make
it go forward let’s see if I wound it up the right direction my car just went
backwards I have to wind it the other direction to get my car moving forward
the cool thing about these rubber band cars is you can use all kinds of
different materials to make your car work I went to the dollar store is that
okay say dollars oh I went to the dollar store and found this little plastic
basket and I noticed they’re wrong and I noticed there were holes in the side of
the basket and I realized I didn’t even have to make holes in the side I could
put wooden axles through I attached my rubber band to the front
you can see my little push pin on my axle let’s take a look and see how this
works it’s even easier to wind up because I
can reach into the top hook my thumb tack wind it up and see if it works another working car the cool thing about
these rubber band cars is you can use all kinds of different materials to make
your car work I went to the dollar store and found this little plastic basket and
I noticed there were holes in the side of the basket and I realized I didn’t
even have to make holes in the side I could put wooden axles through I
attached my rubber band to the front you can see my little push pin on my axle
let’s take a look and see how this works it’s even easier to wind up because I
can reach into the top hook my thumbtack wind it up and see if it works another
working car the really cool thing about these cars is that I can use everyday
classroom materials to build all kinds of different varieties of cars and then
I can actually become a scientist and test them out and see which one goes the
farthest which one goes the fastest which one carries the most weight I
could stack pennies or paperclips or marbles in here and count them up and
see which car can actually carry the most weight the furthest down the
hallway science is so cool when you experiment and try new things and look
at things that work and look at things that don’t work and then try and figure
out how to make them better and faster just really cool if you want to learn
more about engineering check out our links and our other videos on the
channel thanks for watching

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  1. That was great. I really appreciate that you showed every step in detail, often these types of videos gloss over things like how to make the holes. Just an fyi, there seems to be some editing issues towards the end of the video. The basket at the dollar store part is repeated.

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