Rev Up Your Veggies! Building model race cars lets students explore physical science concepts and promotes cooperative learningby: Melissa DiGennaro King

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Intended as a contest to promote teamwork and encourage innovative thinking with a focus on nutrition, the Lunch Box Derby challenges fourth- and fifth-grades students to design, build, and race cars made from fresh produce. Each class is allowed one entry, with the best entries from each region competing at the national level. This contest offered a creative opportunity to reinforce physical science concepts, such as design and the laws of motion, through active discovery and inquiry-based learning.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (3)
  • on Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:11 PM

I'm working on a unit about health and nutrition. I saw this article and it reminded me that I saw something very similar to this two years ago at NSTA in Chicago! I am so excited! Instead of competing against other classes, I will have the class compete in teams. I love that it is more than just an activity and students must use logic and reasoning. We will definitely make graphs to show the data.

Pamela Dupre  (Lake Charles, LA)
Pamela Dupre (Lake Charles, LA)

  • on Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:18 AM

The author describes an activity where students design a "car" out of produce. The link provided for directions no longer works but an internet search provides several sites with additional information. The lesson provides teachers with a description of how to integrate an engineering design challenge, student journaling and writing opportunities in a Writers Workshop using the activity as a source, and technology integration for graphing - a very encompassing lesson! Highly recommended for any age but especially for elementary through middle levels - this might also be a good way to introduce the new engineering standards to pre-service elementary teachers as well.

Tina Harris  (Bloomington, IN)
Tina Harris (Bloomington, IN)

  • on Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:25 AM

Great ideas for using non-traditional bldg materials to teach force and motion. the kids will think that is fun to build with food and will remember these activities

Jennifer Sutton  (Barry, TX)
Jennifer Sutton (Barry, TX)

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