Motorized Car

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In this design challenge activity, learners build a car that uses a battery-operated motor to "drive" at least ten feet. Educators can use this activity as a fun, hands-on way to introduce the design process as well as circuitry and motors to learners.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • 1.5-volt AA battery
  • AA battery holder (optional)
  • Compact discs (CDs)
  • Corrugated cardboard (one piece about 5 1/2 inches square)
  • Electrical wire (22-gauge)
  • 8 faucet washers (4, Size: 1/4 inch Large; and 4, Size: 1 to 1 1/8 inch)
  • Motor with attached gear that runs on 1.5-volt AA battery
  • Poster putty (1/4 package—the tackiest available)
  • 2 wooden skewers (the thinnest available)
  • Scissors
  • Tape (masking or duct)
  • Wire strippers


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electric Motors
      • Electric Circuits
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Electronics
  • Toys
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Design Squad Nation


Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 0810996