STEM Challenge Winners! Plus 3 Renewable Energy Activity Ideas

On February 11th, in honor of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we issued a challenge – a great, big, STEM Challenge!

In line with this year’s theme of Inclusive Green Growth, we asked Clubs to create a car powered by renewable energy. There were no limitations to size, shape, color, or number of passengers. Our only rule was that the cars had to move without being pushed or touched.

The challenge was tough, but we were blown away by the results we saw! Clubs stepped up with creative designs that not only got their cars moving, but also showed great problem-solving skills. Without further ado, we’re excited to share the 3 victors who made it through!

(Drum roll please…)

In 1st place in the “Other” category is Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley!


Team Avocado used pressurized air along with a small amount of water to fuel their designs. Not only did they achieve a moving car, they tested various air pressure levels to see which would make their car travel the farthest. And travel far it did – a whopping 27 feet using a PSI of 25! The girls were also environmentally (and price) conscious, using recyclable resources such as sponges, cardboard, skewers, CDs, and recycled water bottles. Great work!

Check out the amazing video of their car, complete with slow-motion (and watch out NASCAR!)

Next, 1st place in the Air/Wind category goes to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard Center!

norfolk 1.jpg

These kids had the bright idea to use a balloon to power their car. Their model didn’t require much in the way of resources to have a big effect – the car traveled just over 17 feet! And from the looks of it, the successful car was an attention-grabber at the Club. Check out the video of their unique design!

Our Honorable Mention in this category goes to the Boys & Girls Club of Central Wyoming!

While they had initially planned to build a solar-powered car, they didn’t give up when they ran into some bumps along the way (hey, experimenting is a part of science!) Instead, they switched to a wind-powered design with a handmade sail, and their determination paid off. Way to stick with it, we love the enthusiasm! Jump to 0:45 of the video to see the action really pick up!

Congratulations to all the challenge participants, you did an amazing job! This was no easy task, and we here at BGCA know that first-hand because we also tried the challenge. We had our fair share of trial and error, but thanks to a brilliantly sunny day, our rag-tag team of youth development professionals was able to make it work! Check out the proof in our video! 🙂!


And for those Clubs that didn’t have time to complete the STEM Challenge (or didn’t know where to start), never fear! You can still have fun with your kids researching how other people have tackled this task and then trying to recreate (and improve upon) their designs! Here are some videos with more detailed instructions to get you started:

Simple Wind Car: This one only uses resources you can easily find around your Club: straws, bottle tops, bottles, popsicle sticks, tape, and hot glue.

Balloon Powered Car: This one also uses readily available resources and would be able to run no matter whether it’s windy or not outside.

For those of you ready to advance to the next level in sustainably-powered cars, try making a solar powered toy car! (We promise it’s not as hard as it sounds! If we can do it, so can you.)

Thanks to all who participated in this year’s STEM Challenge! We loved your videos and pictures, and we hope you had fun being challenged!

What are your favorite STEM projects? Have an idea for our next STEM Challenge? Comment below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email to share your ideas!

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