Propeller-Powered Car

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In this activity, learners construct cars that are powered by hand-made, electric propellers. Learners construct the base of the car out of a craft stick, use brass tacks and a paper clip to make a switch, and assemble a circuit using wire, a motor, and 9V battery. This project will help learners explore concepts of motion and forces including Newton's Laws of Motion, friction, and acceleration as well as circuits and electricity. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 1 Craft Stick
  • 4 Car wheels (bottle tops, caps)
  • 2 Straws
  • 2 Skewer sticks
  • 1 Motor
  • 1 Card stock or playing card for propeller
  • 1 Piece of hot glue stick, 1/4 in long
  • Material for propeller platform (styrofoam, e.g.)
  • Electrical wire
  • 2 Brass tacks
  • 1 Paper clip
  • 9V battery
  • 9V battery snaps
  • 1 Plastic bottle (optional)
  • 1 Bamboo skewer (optional)
  • 1 Small piece of paper (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Rubber bands
  • Hot glue gun
  • Soldering iron (optional)
  • Drill


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Circuits
    • Motion and Forces
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Acceleration
      • Newton's Laws
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process

Informal Categories

  • Toys
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop


  • All rights reserved, Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop, 2011