Bottle Cars

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In this activity, learners explore motion, energy, and electricity by constructing bottle cars that run on motors. Learners can make two different types of cars: a 1-bottle model and a 2-bottle model. Use this activity to introduce learners to potential energy, kinetic energy, friction, and circuits. Note: a drill and drill bits may be used during this activity, but are not included in the cost of materials. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • plastic bottles
  • 1/4 in. dowels
  • paint paddles or similar wood sticks
  • paper clips
  • motors
  • 9V batteries
  • 9V attachment battery snaps (optional)
  • electrical wires
  • rubber bands
  • wheels (anything round)
  • brass fasteners
  • glue sticks (1/4 in. long)
  • cardboard
  • smaller blocks of wood for reinforcement
  • motor pulleys (or hot glue sections)
  • hot glue gun
  • tape, electrical and masking
  • drill with 1/4 in. and 5/16 in. bits
  • utility knife
  • wire stripper


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Motors
      • Electric Circuits
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
      • Energy and Power
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Acceleration
      • Newton's Laws
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Electronics
  • Model Building
  • Toys
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Fresno Community Science Workshop


  • All rights reserved, Fresno Community Science Workshop, 2011

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