Sanity Savers: Moon Buggy Challenge

Sponsored by: National Grid

Written by: Dan Walsh
STEM Educator

Sanity Savers: Moon Buggy Challenge

Supplies ideas:
Cardboard, two rubber bands, then you will need either two wooden dowels, straws, or pencils
Length:
Build time: 20 minutes
Academic Subjects:
Science
This lesson supports the following standards:    
ETS1.A: Defining Engineering Problems – A situation that people want to change or create can be approached as a problem to be solved through engineering. Such problems may have many acceptable solutions. (secondary to KPS2-2)
Directions for Moon Buggy
NASA is planning on going back to the moon by 2024. This means new technology must be made for the astronauts, in particular a new moon buggy. Can you help the astronauts by creating a model Moon Buggy?
1.)   The first thing we need to do is build the body of the buggy. Find a square piece of cardboard that is approximately 7 inches by 7 inches.    
2.)   Bend the piece of cardboard into thirds. The two sides will point down.

3.)   Next we will build our wheels. Find a perfect circle such as a cap and place it on the piece of cardboard. Draw a circle around the cap. Cut four circles out of the cardboard. 

4.)   Cut a small hole in the wheels for the axel. Depending on what supplies you have wooden dowels, straws, or pencils will work.   

Sanity Savers: Moon Buggy Challenge

5.)   Slide the wheels onto the axels. Place a piece of tape on the outside and inside of the wheels to make sure they don’t wobble. 

Sanity Savers: Moon Buggy Challenge

6.)   Next we will build our engines! If you have a binder clip, it will help this step. Clip your binder clip onto the front of your car. If you do not have a binder clip, cut two small slits about an inch apart.
7.)   Grab two rubber bands and chain them together.

8.)   Loop one end of the rubber band around the back axel, then pull the rubber band all the way over the binder clip or attach it to the slit portion. 
9.)   Finally wind the car back and watch how far your Moon Buggy travels!  
10.) Tinker with your Moon Buggy! What can make it different? What if you use square wheels? Can you add a satellite to better collect data?

Check out our other Sanity Savers posts here!