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_____________________________ Physics Project #3

And Newton said, “Let it rip!”

Newton’s laws of motion will always seem to work in class, but in real life, we find that surfaces are seldom
frictionless and that conditions are never truly ideal. This is because outside non-constant forces interfere with
Newton’s laws as we study them in introductory physics. Balloon racers heavily rely on Newton’s laws of motion
and will provide an excellent opportunity to investigate them as we continue this study on forces. While building
balloon racers, we will discover how difficult it can be to make something work consistently as it is intended.

• Must work individually.
• The car must be powered by ONE inflated balloon.
• You may build the car out of anything you have laying around!
• It must have at least THREE wheels. Wheels are defined as anything that is round and spins
• The wheels CANNOT be wheels from a toy car. They must be made out of something that was not
originally meant to be used as wheels.
• The car MUST NOT leave the ground.
• The car MUST travel in a straight line.

MATERIALS (Add your own or take away from this list!)

• Balloons, straws, tape, pens, pencils, paper clips, balsa wood, CDs/DVDs, Styrofoam, PVC

Total points possible = 50 points
• 10 pts - Class participation; Materials brought to class on time and use of class time!
• 15 pts - Completed planning guide: Must be completed in your LAB NOTEBOOK!
• 25 pts - Car moved 5 meters or more
23 pts - Car moved 4 – 5 m
21 pts - Car moved 3 – 4 m
19 pts - Car moved 2 – 3 m
17 pts - Car moved 1 – 2 m
15 pts - Car moved 0 – 1 m
13 pts - Completed car – Does not move! =-(
Extra Credit
1 pt for each meter beyond 5 meters

• Monday, December 3rd Planning Guide
• Friday, December 7th Materials brought to class; Construction Days
• Monday, December 10th Race Day!
Balloon Racer

Main Task
Incorporate Newton’s laws of motion into the design and construction of a balloon race car.

Define Newton’s 3 laws of motion in your LAB NOTEBOOK!

Answer the following questions in you LAB NOTEBOOK!

1. What type of force causes an object to move?
2. What must be overcome in order to get the car to move?
3. What is inertia?
4. Do resting objects have inertia?
5. Do moving objects have inertia?
6. What property of matter determines how much inertia an object has?
7. What will cause your car to stop?
8. Explain how will you minimize friction in your car?
9. Will all cars have roughly the same amount of force available? Explain
10. If force = mass x acceleration what will happen to the acceleration of the car if mass
is increased? Decreased?
11. What caused your car to move forward?
12. Explain why the open end of the balloon must face backwards if you want the car to
move forward.
13. List 3 different types of objects you could use for wheels.
14. How will you connect the wheel to the axle?
15. How will you connect the axle to the body of the car?
16. What could you do to reduce friction between the wheels, axle and body of the car?
17. List 3 different objects you could use as a car body.
18. How will you attach the balloon to the car body?
19. Describe how you could control the amount of force released from the balloon.
20. What are the advantages/disadvantages of controlling how the air is released from
the balloon?

Thinking about your responses above, what will your final balloon car design include?
Include material list and a sketch of your car in your LAB NOTEBOOK!
This is just a preliminary plan. You may make changes as necessary.

Here are some examples of previously made racers to give you some ideas. Some of these
are great designs while others are not. Just be creative and thorough and your
design/project will be great! I have faith…