Sail Car Activity


10 Pack SKU: 1824-67

Single SKU: 1824-77

Design and engineer a vehicle that is propelled by the wind. This activity is perfect for early elementary groups. The Sail Car design allows students to quickly and easily experiment with sail shape, angle, and placement.

Engineer a Sail Car that can go the greatest distance, travel the fastest, or carry the most weight. Start by building the car base. Learn about forces and motion by completing the optional Sail Car labs. Then, design and build your own Sail Car to compete in engineering challenges.

For ages 8 & up, check out the Advanced Sail Car.

Completing the

Sail Car Activity

with Ages 5-8

If you are working with ages 5-8, you can choose how to complete the Sail Car Activity.

  • Choice #1 Without Labs: Go straight from the Build Guide to the Engineering Challenges, skipping the Optional Lab . This option works well when you’re doing the activity outside of a classroom, in a Makerspace, as a self-directed activity, or just for fun.
  • Choice #2 With Labs:The Build Guide is included as part of the Lab about push and pull, so start at the Optional Lab . Once finished, move on to improve your design in the Engineering Challenge. This option works well when you want to teach this activity to a class or during a class visit to a Makerspace.

MS Word or PDF - Which document format should you download? Always download the PDF document, unless you want to edit/change it. If you want to edit/change the document, download the MS Word (Microsoft Word) version.

     Build Guide     

Start by creating your sail car using the Build Guide. This will be a great design to get you started. You’ll start to create your own amazing designs during the engineering challenges.

     Optional Lab     

  • Sail Car Build Guide and Lab: PDF or MS Word-- Start by building the Sail Car, then learn how different sail shapes affect its motion. (Suggested Grade Levels: K-1).

     Engineering Challenge     

  • Design & Engineering Challenge: : PDF or MS Word -- It’s time to take what you know about motion and see how far your sail car can go!

     Optional Resources     

Sail Car Overview Thumbnail
    • Sail Car Overview: PDF- or -MS Word-- Brief overview about the TeacherGeek Sail Car documents, activity procedure, concepts, vocabulary, background information, and supplementary resources.






STEAM Market-It Challenge

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.


Sail Car Educational Goals

      • Utilize the Design Engineering Process
      • Encourage creativity, critical thinking and problem solving
      • Learn about push and pull forces, wind, and sail design.
      • Apply the scientific method
      • Innovate (design, build and evolve you own unique racer)

Aligned to Next Generation Science Standards:

Forces & Interactions

      • K-PS2-1: Plan & conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes & pulls on the motion of an object.
      • K-PS2-2: Analyze data to determine if a design solution works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull.

Engineering Design

      • K-2-ETS1-1: Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
      • K-2-ETS1-2: Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.

TeacherGeek Tools You'll Need

What tools will you need to do this activity?


Process Description

Recommended Tool

Alternate Tool


Cutting dowels, strips, recycling bin items, etc.


Saw, Pruning Shears


Change splined holes in components from press fit (dowels press and stay) to loose fit (dowels are able to slide and rotate).


#3 Drill Bit and Drill


Tighten and loosen screws



Hammering and Tapping

Tap components through holes easier with this stubby claw hammer.

Hammer (Optional)


Sets of tools can be found here.

Make your Sail Car even better by incorporating recycling bin material.

Sail Car Components

What's in the Sail Car Activity?

Component: 10pk Quantity: Single Quantity:
1" Screws 40 4
3" Slide Stop Material 10 1
12" Dowels 40 4
Hole Plate 20 2
Wheel Hubs 40 4


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:

Next Generation Science Standards
NGSS Standards Download - PDF
NGSS Standards Spreadsheet - Editable /Searchable Excel Sheet

International Technology & Engineering Educators' Association Standards
ITEEA Standards Download - PDF
ITEEA Standards Spreadsheet - Editable/Searchable Excel Sheet