For February’s Creative Chemistry Challenge, click here!

Build a vehicle out of household objects and recyclables!

For general information on the challenge format, click this link!

If you have any suggestions for future challenges, please let us know through the form below! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfMn_qafiZP7kCKGYAVJ_BhW9PczY38oZCC5rIbBfrgP4QGIg/viewform


  1. Use household objects or recyclables (material suggestions below)
  2. Build a vehicle that interests you
  3. Be creative! 
  4. Feel free to work with family and friends!

If you aren’t sure where to start… 

Activity suggestions based on difficulty/complexity: 


Tin Foil boats – make a boat that can hold the most weight (you can test it with pennies or other coins!)

Paper airplanes – try to see how you can make your paper airplane fly farther


Trick paper airplanes 

Cereal box car – build a ramp out of cardboard and see how you can make the car go faster, or race cars 


Rubber band powered car/boat

Paper airplane launcher

Try to move your vehicle without touching it – use magnets, program it, etc.

Material Suggestions:

These materials can be used for any vehicle!

  • Boxes
  • CDs
  • Plastic bottles
  • Rubber bands
  • Bottle caps
  • Straws
  • Skewers
  • Reuse materials around your house!
  • Cardboard
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Construction paper
  • Printer paper
  • Thin cardboard
  • Tinfoil
  • Plastic bottle

Way to test your vehicle:

  • Boat: place your boat in a container or bowl, then use pennies or other small objects to see how much weight it can hold
  • Car: Make a ramp out of a large piece of cardboard or other long, flat item you have, and roll your car down
  • Plane: see how far your plane can fly! Compare different plane models and see which one flies the farthest!

Vehicle Guiding Questions:


  • How can you make your car move?
  • What makes cars move faster?
  • Can you use a force to move your car that doesn’t require touching the car?
  • Could you add a way to remote control your car? (Hint – you can use Lego programming!)


  • What is aerodynamic – what flies the farthest?
  • Do different thicknesses of paper make a difference?
  • How about different materials?
  • How can you make your airplane do stunts in the air?
  • What is the best way to launch your airplane so that it can fly the furthest, highest, or do the best tricks?


  • What materials float best and which ones sink?
  • Which ones can hold the most weight?
  • Can you make your boat move?
  • What is the best way to do this?

Library Resources

We are super excited to be working with the Lincoln Library! They have curated book and website lists for students of different ages to learn more about vehicles! Visit the library website to access these resources!

General Guiding Questions/Suggestions:

  1. Draw a sketch of what you would like to build
  2. Think about what material you’d like to use, and why
  3. How can you build upon your design?
  4. Brainstorm your idea with a friend! 
  5. What issues did you run into? Why? How can you modify it to make it bigger or more complex?

Reflection Questions:

  1. What issues did you run into?
  2. How did brainstorming your idea (with a buddy) help you overcome some of your challenges?
  3. What was your favorite part of the challenge?
  4. What challenges did you overcome? 
  5. What did you learn?
  6. What were your earlier versions/ how did your design evolve?
  7. How did you come up with the idea?
  8. How did you test your vehicle? How many pennies did it hold, or how fast did it go etc?

To submit:

  • Send a picture of your creation and answers to the optional questions if you filled them out to stemsubmissions@gearticks.com by January 31st your creations will be featured on the GearTicks websites!
  • Feel free to include any planning you did as well as your favorite part of the challenge!
  • Your submissions can be a google document, PDF, image, or just an email
  • If you want to upload work on paper, try downloading a PDF scanner like genius scan and send it via email

If you have any questions feel free to email hello@gearticks.com!

If you enjoy these STEM Challenges, you may be interested in FLL Explore. FLL Explore is a Lego Robotics program for kids ages 6-10. For more information, you can visit this page or email us!

Suggestions for Vehicles: