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Lesson #4
Building a Balloon Car
The Exploratory Model


  • Student builds a Balloon Car considering and applying aspects of Newton's 3 laws.
  • Student aims at building a car that will go 30 feet in 5 second.


  • Exploration and journal sections of electronic portfolio.
  • 1/2 gallon milk or juice carton
  • skewers
  • straws
  • film canister caps
  • 9 inch round balloons

Assignment Procedures:

  1. Things to think about:
    • Force - balloon - let out air - How? How much? How much to pump? Size and shape? How to attach? How to start?
    • Gravity/Friction - wheels (caps) - How much friction do you want? Surface - cement, wood floor?
    • Acceleration = force/mass - Body of car? Shape? Weight?
  2. Sketch a plan for your exploratory balloon car. Include top view, back view, side view, and front view. Label all materials and parts.
  3. Scan your drawing or use drawing tools, then copy and paste. This must be placed in your portfolio.
  4. Build your exploratory balloon car.


  • Using a computer program like Claris Spreadsheet or Microsoft Excel, create a data collection sheet for your exploratory car. You will need to record data to be collected during your "test runs".
  • Consider the following when creating your columns and rows: 5-10 trial runs, date, surface, units of measurement for distance and time, weight, additional notes. (see example)
  • Remember, your goal is 30 ft. in 5 seconds.
  • Complete journal entry #3 - focus - write about your experiences planning and building your exploratory car.

Lesson 1
Exploring Forces & Motion
Lesson 2
Sharing Your Research Findings
Lesson 3
Comparing Your Original Notions With Your Present Findings
Lesson 4
Building a Balloon Car - The Exploratory Model
Lesson 5
Testing Your Exploratory Car
Lesson 6
The First Inquiry
Lesson 7
Testing Out Your 1st Inquiry
Lesson 8
Summary and Conclusion for Inquiry #1
Lesson 9
Inquiry #2
Lesson 10
Calculating Speed
Lesson 11
Example Portfolio &
Other Forms