Sail Car Activity

$6.98
President's Award Winner

Harness the power of the wind - on land - and there'll be smooth sailing ahead for this incredible STEM | STEAM activity kit! Students are empowered to quickly experiment with ease, testing and re-adjusting their sail’s shape, angle and pitch. Watch as they work through the engineering & design process, designing their sail cars for speed, distance or even to ferry school supplies across the room! Change wind conditions to increase the challenge, or choose from the 10 labs designed to investigate the science behind the sail car.

The Advanced Sail Car features extra components for innovation and tinkering! Add tools to the advanced kit for even more innovation. Tools are required for 10 Packs but are optional for single kits. Documents available for grades Pre-K - 12.


Activity Videos

Activity Documents

Click on the flowchart to view documents from each category.

Go Guide:

Give it to your students and go! This is the essential document to get students started with sail cars, and it culminates in the tailwind engineering challenge. There are two versions of the Go Guide, pick based on whether you ordered the basic kit or the advanced kit (which includes extra parts).

Basic Go Guide:
PDF DOCX Video
For the basic version of the kit.
Advanced Go Guide:
PDF DOCX Video
For the advanced version of the kit.

Pre-K Labs:

Push Pull Lab:
Pre-K Version
PDF DOCX Video
Students investigate how pushing or pulling at different strengths changes the distance the sail car rolls. This pre-K activity is designed for kids who are not reading/writing yet.
Wind Lab:
Pre-K Version
PDF DOCX Video
Students investigate the effect of sail size on the distance their sail car travels. This pre-K activity is designed for kids who are not reading/writing yet.

Grades 2-3 Labs:

Push Pull Lab:
K-1 Version
PDF DOCX Video
Students investigate how pushing or pulling at different strengths changes the distance the sail car rolls. This grade K-1 activity is designed for kids who are new to writing numbers.
Wind Lab:
K-1 Version
PDF DOCX Video
Students investigate the effect of sail size on the distance their sail car travels. This grade K-1 activity is designed for kids who are new to writing numbers.

Grades 2-3 Labs:

Wind Lab:
2-3 Version
PDF DOCX Video
Students investigate the effect of sail size on the distance their sail car travels. This grade 2-3 activity is designed for kids who can measure distances.
Balanced Forces Lab:
PDF DOCX Video
Students learn about balanced forces by investigating aerodynamics, using two fans to make a wind tunnel. This activity is designed for kids who can measure distances.

Grades 4+ Labs:

Balanced Forces Lab:
PDF DOCX Video
Students learn about balanced forces by investigating aerodynamics, using two fans to make a wind tunnel. This activity is designed for kids who can measure distances.

Grades 7+ Labs:

PocketLabs are required for labs in this section.

Forces & Motion Lab - PocketLab Edition:
PDF DOCX ANSWERS Video
Students use a PocketLab to investigate the drag force, its correlation with sail size, and its impact on sail car velocity.
Inertia Lab - PocketLab Edition:
PDF DOCX ANSWERS Video
Students use a PocketLab to investigate inertia and its impact on sail car velocity.

Grades 9+ Labs:

Advanced Sail Car Kits are required for labs in this section.

Atwood's Machine Lab:
Atwood's Page
Students use a Half Atwood's Machine to explore Newton's 2nd Law.
Momentum Lab:
PDF DOCX ANSWERS Video
SStudents investigate collisions and the conservation of momentum.

Challenges:

Design your car to race with the wind, across the wind, or into the wind!
See the Go Guide document for challenge instructions.

Basic Go Guide:
PDF DOCX Video
Challenges are included in this document for the basic version of the kit.
Advanced Go Guide:
PDF DOCX Video
Challenges are included in this document for advanced version of the kit.
Engineering Notebook:
Pre-K Edition
PDF DOCX
Have your students track their sail designs and their success. This pre-K document is designed for students who cannot yet write numbers.
Engineering Notebook:
K-3 Edition
PDF DOCX
Have your students track their sail designs and their success.

Other Resources:

Standards (Pre-K to 3):
PDF DOCX
Get NGSS, CCSS, and ITEEA/STL standards for the Sail Car activities geared towards grades pre-K to 3.
Standards (4 to 12):
PDF DOCX
Get NGSS, CCSS, and ITEEA/STL standards for the Sail Car activities geared towards grades 4-12.
STEAM Market-It Challenge:
PDF DOCX
Add the STEAM Market-It Challenge to any completed TeacherGeek activity to teach students how to turn their TeacherGeek design into a retail product. Students will learn the 4 'Ps' of marketing - Product, Placement, Price and Promotion. Students have the option of completing a commercial, a billboard or retail packaging as a summative assessment.
Engineering Notebook:
Pre-K Edition
PDF DOCX
Have your students track their sail designs and their success. This pre-K document is designed for students who cannot yet write numbers.
Engineering Notebook:
K-3 Edition
PDF DOCX
Have your students track their sail designs and their success.
Sailing Simulator:
Website
ThePirateKing.com's sailing simulator is great for investigating sail angle vs the wind. This external resource uses Adobe Flash, which will not be supported after December 2020.
Land Sailing Background:
Website
Wikipedia's article on Land Sailing discusses history, speed records, and current competitions in land sailing (sail cars).

TeacherGeek Tools

Tools are necessary for 10-packs, but optional for singles.


Multi-Cutter

Cut dowels, strips,
recycling bin items, etc.

Reamer

Ream splines (teeth),
from holes so
dowels spin freely.

Screw Driver

Drive screws into holes.

Mini Hammer

Tap dowels into
other components.

    Sail Car Components

    What comes with the Sail Car?

    Basic Kit (Single)

    Ideal for kids 8 and under who will primarily
    experiment with sail designs (with adult supervision).

    4x Wheels
    2x Hole Plates
    1x Slide Stop (75 mm)
    4x Screws (#10 25 mm)
    2x Dowels (300 mm)
    3x Dowels (100 mm)

    Advanced Kit (Single)

    More parts means more innovation - perfect for older kids!
    Add TeacherGeek tools to create even more creative designs.

    4x Wheels
    2x Hole Plates
    4x Connector Strips
    1x Slide Stop (75 mm)
    5x Perpendicular Blocks
    4x Screws (#10 25 mm)
    4x Tire Rubber Bands
    4x Dowels (75 mm)
    3x Dowels (100 mm)
    2x Dowels (125 mm)
    2x Dowels (150 mm)
    4x Dowels (300 mm)

    Basic Kit (10-Pack)

    Enough Basic Sail Cars for your whole class! (up to 30 students)
    TeacherGeek tools are necessary for 10-Packs.

    40x Wheels
    20x Hole Plates
    10x Slide Stop (75 mm)
    40x Screws (#10 25 mm)
    4x Tire Rubber Bands
    40x Dowels (300 mm)

    Advanced Kit (10-Pack)

    So many parts - so much innovation!
    TeacherGeek tools are necessary for 10-Packs.

    40x Wheels
    20x Hole Plates
    40x Connector Strips
    10x Slide Stop (75 mm)
    50 Perpendicular Blocks
    40x Screws (#10 25 mm)
    40x Tire Rubber Bands
    100x Dowels (300 mm)

    This is an educational product and not a toy. It is intended for use by ages 6 and above with adult supervision.

      Science, Math & Engineering Standards

      TeacherGeek products fit proposals, grants or lesson plans with ease! Explore more resources below:

      Sail Car Standards:
      PDF DOCX
      NGSS, CCSS, and ITEEA standards for just the Sail Car activities.
      NGSS Standards Spreadsheet:
      PDF DOCX
      NGSS standards matrix for all TeacherGeek activities.
      ITEEA Standards Spreadsheet:
      PDF DOCX
      ITEEA standards matrix for all TeacherGeek activities.