Wind Tunnel Testing

This Wind Tunnel Testing lesson plan also includes:

One of the factors that automotive engineers must consider is wind drag. The less wind drag, the more efficient the car will be. They perform many tests in wind tunnels, then refine their designs and test again. Using simple materials, transform your middle and high schoolers into designers and engineers as they work together to create their own low-drag cars, then test them in a class wind tunnel. To adapt this to the Next Generation Science Standards, have teams compare their results then work together to create the most efficient design possible. 

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Adaptable
Pros

  • Highly engaging
  • Real-world design process allows learners to experience the tasks of engineers
  • Good opportunity to involve community members or find a field trip to a local wind tunnel
Cons

  • Link to NASAs wind tunnel is incorrect; when you follow the link, delete the period at the end to get to the website
  • NASAs wind tunnel site runs on Java, which does not work on Google Chrome
  • Calls for a large amount of materials