This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of General Mills®. The opinions and text are all mine.
Looking for ways to raise money for your school? Engineering to the rescue!! Host a Balloon Box Car Derby and save those Box Tops! Every one saved is a car part and 10 cents for your K-12 school. Here’s how to do it…
Host a Box Top Balloon Car Derby
First thing you need to do is rally the school! Nothing like a little bit of competition to help raise money. Each student makes and races a recycled container balloon powered car. You could do it in class or make it a whole school party on a Saturday. Just be sure to tell everyone to look for potential car parts that earn Box Tops 4 Education like Cheerios.
Balloon Box Car Derby Supplies Needed
My girl and I headed to Walmart to pick up some car parts. Mainly because I knew they would have everything that we needed plus they have an exclusive 5 Box Tops per product promotion going on. It became a cool engineering brainstorming session because I asked her to look for things that could work as the car parts. She found some biscuit can tops for wheels and lots of boxes of things like cereal and granola bar.
- 4 round things (wheels)
- 1 box thing (car)
- 1 balloon (engine)
- 2 paper straws (axles)
- 4 foam beads (hubcaps)
- Something to poke holes in wheels
Make Your Car Body
First, cut out your Box Top and set aside. Then cut the bottom 1/3-ish off the box, with one of the narrow sides cut at about half level. It’s hard to describe, so take a look at the picture. This higher piece will hold the balloon. Cut a small 1 cm x 1 cm hole in the tall flap to hold the balloon.
Make Your Wheels
The next step is to empty and clean your biscuit containers to make your wheels. And maybe eat a LOT of biscuits. Or have a biscuit party. Or even better, take them to the derby and sell them at a bake sale to make even MORE money for the school.
Now it’s time to make holes in the wheels for the axles. I used a drill for this and recommend some adult supervision. First poke a small hole in the middle of the wheel with a nail and hammer. Then check your straw size and grab a drill bit a bit bigger than your straw. Then hold tight to the wheel and drill. Careful, these have a tendency to spin so using a clamp or drilling onto a safe surface like a block of wood is ideal.
Don’t want to break out the drill? You can use yogurt cups (Yoplait has round bottoms), cut off the top and then use a glue gun to melt a hole in them. Check out my CD Case Geoboard for instructions on how to melt plastic with a glue gun.)
Assemble the Car
To assemble the car, poke four holes into the sides of the car for the axles. Two things to keep in mind: 1) Use a ruler to keep them at the same position on each side. Otherwise your car will drive wonky. 2) Make sure that the wheels touch the ground and that the center of the wheel overlaps the cardboard far enough that you can make a hole.
Feed your straws through the holes, then add the four wheels and the foam bead hubcaps. If the holes in the hubcaps aren’t big enough, take the drill bit (without the drill) and dig them out a bit. Make sure your wheels spin freely and cut any extra straw length off the ends.
Drive Your Car
Grab your balloon, feed it through the hole in the cardboard, blow it up and let it ride! Then race :)
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