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Inventive Middle Schoolers Design Balloon-Powered Cars


Design. Test. Refine.

For the past several months, eighth graders in Waring's STEM science class have been using 3D-modeling software and 3D printers to design and then print the parts for a balloon-powered car.

The course emphasizes a design-build process and the use of the scientific method to observe problems and test solutions.

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During the semester-long course, the middle schoolers do little outside of this major project. They learn how to design in industry-standard computer aided drafting software, use top-of-the-line 3D printers to bring their drawings to life, and utilize Waring's makerspace to test and compare individually designed axels, chassis, wheels, and more.

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Earlier this month, the students tested their final cars in the gym for parents and classmates. On the power of just a single balloon, each car traveled more than 18 meters, nearly the length of the basketball court. 

During the design and build process, students learn to be inventive, work together, and problem solve–all skills that will serve the middle schoolers well as they transition to upper-level sciences and Waring's high school program.

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Graham Pearsall
Written by Graham Pearsall

Waring School's Communications Manager