Engineering Design


    Engineering Design Unit


    In this unit, students use the engineering-design-process to design, build and race a small scale, rocket-powered car.  Students are challenged to make the vehicle go as fast as possible and look good, too. 


    The engineering-design process is used by engineers to solve problems under given design constraints.  It is a process for planning and creating optimal solutions to technical problems.  

    Powered by a 12 gram CO2 cartridge, the vehicle travels 60 feet in aproximately one second!

     CO2 cartridge

    Students research aerodynamics and go through several design iterations (sketches, computer-aided-designs and prototypes) before constructing the vehicle. 


    vehicle sketches

    The unit culminates with two competitions:

    • Race Day - The race track uses a computer timing system (with infrared sensors) that is accurate to .001 (one-thousandth) of a second! 

    finish line      computer timing system

    • Design Competition - Students vote for the best design in the class "Autoshow". 


    Grading is based on how well the student follows the constraints and the engineering design process.  The top five in both competitions earn extra credit!   



    Thrust SSC (below) is the official land speed record holder at 763 mph!  Our cars don't go quite that fast!

    Thrust SSC


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