Races are always a great idea for a Lego Club. They can get a bit chaotic, but kids definitely get really into it. We’ve done a few races over the years, from zip line races to wind racers. The goal was always to build something fast, but this time I thought it would be great to purposely build something really slow. Or just bad I guess. Hooray for intentionally building awful things!
I originally got this idea off of a few posts like this, where the idea is to add resistance to the actual ramp so that your car will slow down. I liked that idea, but decided to put a Lego Club spin on it. So after we went over rules, I told everyone that we would be racing today. BUT that was too easy since we have so many Master Builders in our club, so instead we would be building the slowest cars possible.
I then demonstrated with two different cars–one I took from last month’s “Rocket Car” challenge and the other I made for this challenge, which is pictured below. I then asked the kiddos what the difference between the two were. They noticed right away that the rocket car had 4 wheels both front and back, while the slow car had 4 wheels ONLY in the back. And they also noticed that the slow car had a big plow shape on the front that would dig into the ramp and slow it down. I then raced them and showed them how the slow car worked. This would be a great place to talk about “Drag” and “Resistance” if you want to turn this into a quick STEM lesson.
So after the demonstration, I set them loose. You could build your car however you wanted, BUT there were two rules:
- Your car had to kinda sorta actually look like a car. You couldn’t just make a big brick and call it a car.
- Your car had to have at least two wheels that could freely move on the bottom. That way the car can at least try to move.
My littlest kids didn’t really get it and just built cars like normal, and that’s perfectly fine. But the older kiddos really got into it, and it was amazing to see how they kinda figured out ways around the rules. I had one kid that had moving wheels in the back, and stationary rubber wheels in the front so it would go really slow (that one is pictured below.) I had kids that build cars that would flip over on purpose so that they would slowly slide down. And I had kids that build cars with wheels perpendicular to each other, so that the car would be constantly stopping and changing direction. SO SMART!
For our ramp, I just used a long table with two of it’s legs kicked in. That worked out okay, but it created a pretty steep angle. So that meant they’re were some good cars that might have been pretty slow, but given how steep the angle was, they still went fairly fast. So in the future, it would have been nice to have a ramp that didn’t have such a steep incline. That way they could go REALLY, REALLY slow. Simple idea and lots of fun!