Wind Tunnel Testing

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In this activity, learners explore how wind tunnels provide feedback to engineers about the performance and durability of products such as planes, cars, and buildings. Learners work in teams to build their own model of a car, using simple materials, and test their designs in a classroom wind tunnel set up.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Student Worksheets
  • Small portable fan
  • Rectangular cardboard box with ends removed
  • Tape to affix box to floor in fixed position
  • Ruler
  • Wood or plastic to set up ramp (on 15 degree slope)
  • Tape
  • String
  • Plastic wrap
  • Foil
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Toothpicks
  • Paperclips
  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Cardboard
  • One cardboard tube (from paper towel or toilet paper roll)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
    • Technology
      • Transportation
      • Manufacturing
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Momentum and Velocity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • 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



  • All rights reserved, IEEE,