Why does this work?
This science experiment applies multiple ideas in classical physics, all in one fun little STEM challenge!
- Firstly by pulling back the rubber band racer you stretch the rubber band, there by storing energy (also known as potential energy).
- When you let the rubber band racer go, the stored energy in the tension of the rubber band is released and is transferred to the rear axle (an application of the first law of thermodynamics... also known as the Law of Conservation of Energy whereby energy cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system).
- As the rear axle spins, the rear wheels grip the floor and push backwards which then sends the rubber band racer forwards! A classic way of demonstrating Newton's 3rd Law of motion which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Variables to try
- Try different floor surfaces... is carpet better than tiles for example?
- How far will the car travel if you pull it backwards set distances (is the relationship linear?).
- Does a different size rubber band make the rubber band racer go further?
- Can you create a different wooden stick arrangement to add another rubber band to the racer? Does this make a difference to the speed and final distance achieved?
How to teach science, the way primary kids love
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