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Project challenge:

lego® crash test

Suggested Ages: K – 5th Grades

Try something new with your Lego bricks! In this design challenge you’ll crash-test Lego cars against a wall to discover what building techniques result in the most durable designs. After each test you’ll have to pick up the pieces and BE DETERMINED to rebuild until your car stays in one piece after impact at the highest possible speed.

This is no ordinary DIY project for kids: It’s a step toward becoming an innovator.

 

Every Galileo Design-It-Yourself Challenge teaches the same techniques and mindsets that professional designers an engineers, artists and chefs use in their work. With skills like these, we believe you can change the world.

Get Involved—For Grown Ups

Materials list:

Help your child find these materials or a close substitute: 

 

  • A hard surface for crashing cars (hard-cover books, a piece of wood, etc.)
  • 2 same-sized rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • Empty cardboard box (should be easy-to-cut like a cereal box)
  • 20 Lego bricks (any assortment will do)
  • 2 sets of Lego wheels*


*Note
—Don’t worry if you don’t have wheels, the car can also just slide into the backboard from the launcher. To help the car slide, work on a smooth floor or lay down some cardboard between the launcher and the backboard.

 

Activity Steps:

Use these to keep your innovator on track as they create: 

 

    1. Create the launcher, launcher anchor, power indicator and backboard (younger children will need help with these steps).
    2. Get lego wheels and count out 20 lego bricks.
    3. Construct a car using all 20 pieces.
    4. Place the car in the launcher, pull back to level 1 on the power indicator, and launch!
    5. If no pieces break off the car, try again, but go up to level 2.
    6. Keep increasing the power until something breaks off the car.
    7. Once something breaks, take a moment to evaluate how and why the piece broke off the car.
    8. Redesign the car.
    9. Test again.
    10. Be determined to keep redesigning and testing and increasing the power level. Try to design a car that stays in one piece after impact at the highest speed.

 

Guiding Questions:

If your child is stuck, try asking these questions to help them keep on innovating: 

 

  • Where did the car break?
  • What’s one way you could redesign the weakest part of the car?

 

More Ideas:

Every project presents opportunities to add your own twists or extensions. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

 

  • If the initial challenge seems too difficult, try starting with fewer bricks, like 10. Have your child work their way up from there.
  • Get involved! Build your own car, and experience both the struggles and triumphs of the Lego Crash Test!
  • This activity is great for two or more kids (or adults!) Help kids select two identical sets of Lego bricks, so they can compare designs and learn from each other’s testing.

 

Wrap Up Questions:

Lock in the learning by asking your child these questions about their project and how they practiced the featured Innovator’s Mindset element: 

 

  • Tell me about your car’s design. What makes it strong?
  • You created, tested and broke a lot cars! How do you think being determined helped you during this process?

SHARE!

The last step in the Gallieo Innovator’s Process is SHARE. Great learning can come from sharing successes and failures—to solidify your own experience as an innovator and to inspire others.

 

SHARE WITH galileo

 

Take a picture of your strongest car or a slo-mo video of your highest powered launch and share it with the Camp Galileo Anywhere community!

 

 

Share with family and friends

 

Your innovation doesn’t stop with you. Inspire someone else by sharing your project challenge—maybe they’ll try it themselves or maybe your project will give them a new idea.

 

  • Who: someone in your house, a family member, a friend
  • How: in person, on the phone, online
  • When: anytime, starting now!