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Build a Wind-Powered Car

Author: Science Buddies
Grades: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Subjects: Science, Engineering
Resource Type:
  • Project
  • In this project, students will build a sail-car and experiment with sails of different sizes and shapes. 
Teaching Tips


  • Students can use their problem-solving skills to find the best shape and size for their sail to help the car move most efficiently.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The materials can be adjusted to remove anything plastic. For example, the wheels could be made from cardboard instead of a plastic bottle cap and the axle can be made using rolled up paper and tape instead of plastic straws.
  • Reclaiming cardboard and paper from a recycling bin may be the best choice for finding materials for this project.


  • You can have students work in pairs or groups.
  • Students can research wind energy and other solutions to climate change as an extension project.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a short article that instructs on how to make a simple sail car out of home craft materials. There are no photos for the step-by-step instructions, but the sail car is simple enough that the instructions are still clear. The resource also provides examples of ways in which to experiment with different sail sizes. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • PS3: Energy
      • 4-PS3-1 Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object.
    • PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
      • 3-PS2-2 Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
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