Rubber Band Racer

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In this activity, learners construct speedy vehicles made out of paper plates and powered by twisted rubber bands. This toy is an excellent demonstration of potential and kinetic energy and how things move. This project can also be used to help learners understand Newton's Laws of Motion and friction. Activity guide has detailed step-by-step instructions, illustrations, and focus questions. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 1 Paint paddle or similar thin wood (craft stick)
  • 2 Paper plates
  • 3 Bamboo skewers
  • 2 Wheels (bottle caps, e.g.)
  • 1 Straw
  • 4 Rubberbands
  • Cardboard
  • Pliers
  • Hot glue gun (with glue)
  • Drill (optional)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
    • Technology
      • Transportation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
    • Motion and Forces
      • Acceleration
      • Newton's Laws
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity
  • 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


  • Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop


  • All rights reserved, Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop, 2011

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