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Balloon Car Engineering Design Unit for Middle School Science NGSS MS-ETS1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4

Design a Balloon Car

Use this low-prep unit to help your students use design thinking to create a balloon powered car!

Students will design, create a prototype, and conduct iterative testing to design and improve a balloon car. Students will consider constraints and criteria and will compare design solutions in the engineering challenge. The whole engineering process takes about 4 class periods.

balloon car races

Design a Balloon Car

Standards aligned with NGSS MS-ETS1-1, 1-2, 1-3, and 1-4.

You can be sure you’re covering the information that you need to with my standards-aligned units!

NGSS MS-ETS1-1: Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions

NGSS MS-ETS1-2: Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

NGSS MS-ETS1-3: Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

NGSS MS-ETS1-4: Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

Design a Balloon Car Using the Design Process

A variety of activities to keep your middle school science class engaged!

This resource includes a PowerPoint slideshow on the design process with strategic note-taking guide, detailed lesson plan, follow-up pages, photos, tips, and suggestions, as well as constraints, criteria, and iterative testing.

Engaging unit that really focuses on criteria and constraints. My students loved this activity and I loved that the design process is really emphasized.

Peggy E.

This was an interesting STEM challenge that incorporated a lot of science! My students were definitely thinking and using engineering skills! Two thumbs up!

Emily S.

Great resource. My students had a blast making their balloon cars and racing them. There really was a lot of science and engineering in this activity. Great job.

Carissa B.

Other teachers LOVE this Balloon Car resource!

Check out more of the dozens of perfect reviews at Teachers Pay Teachers.

criteria and constraints balloon car

Try this unit in your classroom TODAY:

This unit is available for download in two places:

  1. Here on teachingscience.us
  2. Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams on Teachers Pay Teachers

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Thank you, and I hope you enjoy using this unit in your classroom!

Start Here

I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!

 
Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit

Tina S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:05:39-06:00

Tina S

I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!   Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit
The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!

 
Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2

Richard S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:07:52-06:00

Richard S

The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!   Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2
As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.

 
Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4

Sharon M

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:24:44-06:00

Sharon M

As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.   Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4
Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.

 
Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning

Expedition Fourth

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:44:55-07:00

Expedition Fourth

Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.   Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning
My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.

 
Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer

Heidi J

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:45:49-07:00

Heidi J

My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.   Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer
5
3
Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams