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STEM Challenge Build a Car

Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Formats Included
  • Zip
37 pages
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Can you build a car ---out of an array of materials? Students use an array of 10- 12 materials to build a rolling car! This is a great team-building activity that will have your students solving many problems. Their little cars will be spectacular! This is a project that kids love to complete and share with each other.

Please note: This lesson is available in a combination package!

What is the challenge?

This STEM challenge is a building experience. Students have specific supplies and must design a car that rolls. They must work together to use the supplies in a creative way. Their thinking will truly be tested as they encounter problems to solve. The choices they make of the materials and how to use them is the heart of this challenge.


  • This experience will take two class sessions to complete.
  • You will need materials along with this package. The materials listed here are just a list of suggestions. You may certainly add to your supplies with items you have or things the students bring in.
  • ★ Suggested supplies include cardboard, foam, cardstock, empty water bottles, plastic and foam cups, craft sticks, dowel sticks, pipe cleaners, straws, washers, bottle caps, boxes, aluminum foil, rubber bands, twist ties, tape, string, glue, card stock, construction paper.
  • You do not need all of these things! I listed a wide variety- all of which we have tried, but never all of these items at the same time.
  • Extensive notes about the materials are included in this resource. I included what we used and the pros and cons of the items. Photos will give you many tips about what to try!

NOTE: This package contains two files! This package specifically includes: Cover, Teacher Background, Materials and Preparation pages, 5 pages of Step-by-Step Procedures for Teachers, Student Lab Sheet with sample student answers, 4 pages of photos, 2 pages of Helpful Hints and Extensions, parent letter to help with getting materials, a scoring rubric, and a Terms of Use page. The package also contains editable files! This includes the lab sheets, two versions of the constraints poster, the parent letter, and the scoring rubric. The page count listed includes everything.

This is a wonderful activity! The designing, building, and rebuilding will challenge your students. This activity does work. You can build a car using a bunch of junk and you can make one that will roll!

You might also enjoy these STEM packages about Building:

You can purchase all THREE packages about Building in a money-saving bundle:


You might also enjoy these STEM Challenges:


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Total Pages
37 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object. Assessment does not include quantitative measures of changes in the speed of an object or on any precise or quantitative definition of energy.
Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion. Examples of motion with a predictable pattern could include a child swinging in a swing, a ball rolling back and forth in a bowl, and two children on a see-saw. Assessment does not include technical terms such as period and frequency.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.


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