TES Muscle Cars (video)

12:31 PM April 30, 2018

Submitted By Ann Cooper


Last week Tampico Elementary School's  Ann Cooper's 5th grade class took to the school parking lot to race cars that they had designed to determine, which team had the winning entry.  Six teams competed before a crowd of classmates and parents.


Ms. Cooper explains the event and how it relates to the 5th grade science curriculum:


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are the new K–12 science content standards. Within these standards are Science and Engineering Practices. These practices describe what “inquiry” science is all about. One of the goals is to give students opportunities to investigate in the manner engineers do, when they build systems. Through the Illinois State University’s Center for Mathematics, Science, and Technology, my students were given the chance to design and build a body for their Muscle Kart, and then race against each other.


Each student was assigned a team, with a “Team Manager” responsible for their team members’ work assignments. Before any designing began, each team was responsible for completing research on muscle kart racing, finding sponsors for their kart, and the creation of flyers to advertise the race. Once the background work was completed, it was time to begin working on the karts.


Each team began with a pre-assembled chassis. The racing team then began designing the body of their car. The students had to take their design and turn it into reality. Their first step was to measure the car. How long did their sides need to be? Where will they have to cut a hole for the brake line to fit? How wide will the hood of the car be? Once they had their measurements, the drawing and cutting of lots of cardboard started.


After a couple of days of designing, cutting, and checking to see if all the pieces fit together, it was time to paint. Each team chose their colors and worked together to get their job done. Because No Sleep Nightmares chose yellow, they had to carefully cover their cardboard, realizing that yellow doesn't’t coat very well.


Thinking that the hard work was over, the students took their painted body parts and assembly began. Little did they know, the hard work had just started. The Mad Cow Disease team realized that their driver would not be able to see out of their car. They brainstormed and solved the problem by cutting windows into the sides of their kart’s body. The Fluffy Nike Unicorns realized they had painted the wrong side of the cardboard. They now had two right sides of their body, so they had to figure out how to make it work. The Better Team learned that time management is important. They spent too much time on their design and did not get a hood made in time for the painting. But, this turned into another problem-solving opportunity. During the last few minutes of assembling, their team manager, Caleb Gibson, was hard at work using black duct tape to cover the entire hood so it matched their car.


Race day finally came. Fellow teachers and the other TES students had been hearing about these cars for two weeks. Now, the real excitement began. At 12:30 pm, the races started. All of the TES students and several family members came to cheer on the racers. Their were six teams, including "All Class", a team made up of TES staff. Each team was guaranteed at least two races.


After a few bumps, bruises, and crashes, we were down to the last race between The Fluffy Nike Unicorns and The No Sleep Nightmares. The winner of this race would take the title of the 2018 Muscle Kart Champions. The excitement that was felt earlier in the day was felt again. With only a few yards to go, The Fluffy Nike Unicorns pulled into the lead and never looked back. It was a great ending to a great race!


Race Team Members

Fluffy Nike Unicorns - Demetree, Mya, Drew, and Henry

Mad Cow Disease - Jakob, Chloe, Amen, Abi, and Kinzie

No Sleep NIghtmares - Carson, Grace, Logan, Sonja

The Ruthless Gorillas - Wyatt, Rowyn, Mischa, and Tommy

The Better Team - Caleb, Tyler, Caden, and Irelynd

All Class - Mrs. Fordham, Mrs. Henegar, Mrs. Cooper, Mrs. Kincaid, Mr. Braasch, Ms. Mewhirter, Mrs. Wendland, and Ms. Sanders



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