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Age Range: 7-11
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • D & T
  • Science
  • Maths

Balloon race car

Build a racing car and use balloons to power them.

In this fun activity for KS2, students will make balloon race cars from plastic construction blocks, such as LEGO®. Using balloons to power their vehicles, they will measure their speed over a set distance.

This activity can be used as a main lesson activity to introduce students to the forces that cause movement or pneumatics.

Activity: Build a LEGO balloon race car

This resource is part of a set designed to help learners develop their knowledge and skills in Design & Technology, Engineering, Science, and Mathematics (STEM) using summer themes. This resource can be used in school or at home and involves building balloon-powered cars from plastic construction blocks.

When making their balloon race car, students can be encouraged to use as many wheels as they want (3, 4, 6, or 8 have all been used effectively). They can also add any additional features they want for creativity, but keep in mind that these may slow the vehicle down.

This activity could be carried out individually; however, the speed measurement should ideally be carried out in pairs or small groups.

How long will this activity take to complete?

This activity will take about 40-60 minutes to complete. Teachers can download the activity sheet below for a detailed lesson plan. Parents can download the family activity for a guide on how to help their children build a balloon race car at home.

The engineering context

Space rockets and jet engines use the force of gas expelled from the vehicle to move it. This is called thrust. The faster the gas is expelled, the greater the thrust, and the faster the vehicle will move.

Calculating the speed is important for almost all powered vehicles, from family cars to Formula 1 racers to space rockets. The speed of a vehicle determines how much thrust is required to move it and how long it will take to reach its destination.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will be able to build a moving car using plastic construction blocks, they will be able to accurately measure the time taken by an activity, and they will have learned a simple way to calculate speed.

Download the free activity sheet below!

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable so that you can tailor them to your students and your schools' needs.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, helpful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in the four devolved UK nations: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Please share your classroom learning highlights with us @IETeducation


Make a balloon race car

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