Blow It Away

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In this activity, learners design wind-powered cars out of simple household materials. Students have fun designing and then racing their vehicles around the room. Challenges for this project include a "monster truck pull" using paper clips as drag, and seeing how far from the wind source (a fan) the car can go.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Type:

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • 5 drinking straws
  • Electric fan (ask an adult before using)
  • 1 4x6-inch index card
  • 4 Life Savers® (hard, individually-wrapped mints work best)
  • 15–20 paper clips
  • 2–4 paper cups
  • 1 plastic bag
  • Several rubber bands
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Sheet of paper
  • String
  • Tape


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Energy and Power
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • WGBH

Source Collection

  • Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman


Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation, 0610406
  • Arby's
  • Greendog