This week’s STEAM challenge is harness. We thought about doing a solar project, but the boys really wanted to use rubber bands so we did an open rubber band car challenge where I let them design their own with the same basic principles. Make sure to scroll to the bottom to check out the other awesome posts!
We talked about what would make a rubber band powered car work. We talked about how we’d make them so the wheels wouldn’t move on their own (that they were secured to the pencils/sticks) and how the rubber band would be would around the back pencil to harness the energy and power the car.
I suggested taping a straw to the bottom of a box for the sticks/pencils to go through but they both found car bodies to put the pencil/skewer through. Whatever you use, just make sure that the “axle” can move freely and that the wheels are secured to the axle. Both boys ended up using duct tape even though they tried a couple different things.
The rubber band should be wrapped around the back axle and then secured farther to the front of the car. On the basket car they duct taped it to the basket itself, on the cardboard car, we added a pencil to secure the rubber band to. If you’re planning ahead, make sure to have a few different sizes of rubber bands for testing!
- 10 Ways to Play with Springs / Left Brain Craft Brain
- Tiny Dancers Homopolar Motor / Babble Dabble Do
- Simple Circuit / What Do We Do All Day?
- Electromagnetic Train / Frugal Fun for Boys
- LEGO Inspired Electric Dough / Lemon Lime Adventures
- Mason Jar Solar Lights / TinkerLab
- Design Thinking and Building Empathy / Meri Cherry