Welcome to Wonder Launch Pad!

We’re raring to go over at the Wonder Launch Pad! Here, we’re WONDERing about all things transportation -- land, air, even beyond our atmosphere! So start your engines and let’s take off!

When it comes to the transportation industry, many types of jobs are needed! Engineers, physicists, chemists -- you name it! From underground to outer space, there's virtually no limit to what you can do in transportation!

How Does a Hot Air Balloon Fly? What Is a Hybrid? Make a pit stop at the Wonder Launch Pad to explore these Wonders and many more!

Maker Activity

You may not be old enough for a driver's license yet, but that doesn't mean you can't drive! Take a spin on this paper plate balloon car!

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Hands on!

  • Paper plate
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Straws
  • Skewers
  • Balloon
  • Tape
  • Stapler
  • Quarter or other similarly-sized circular object

Fold the paper plate so that it makes a triangle. Glue, staple, or tape it in place. On the side without the folds, tape or glue one straw near the apex of the triangle and one straw near the base of the triangle.

Trace a quarter four times on a piece of cardboard and cut the circles out. These are your tires! Using the skewer, pierce the center of each cardboard tire, being careful to keep the hole small. With one wheel on the skewer, place the skewer through one of the straws on the paper plate and then put on another wheel. Do the same for the other straw.

Tape 3 straws together in a triangular shape and then tape the opening of a balloon to one end of the 3 straws. You should be able to blow through the straws to inflate the balloon. Insert these straws under the folds of the paper plate car. Blow up the balloon and release!

Wonderuption: What happens when you barely fill up the balloon and when you fill it as much as possible?

Why does that happen?

When you fill the balloon with air, the pressure inside the balloon increases. When the balloon is released, the air moving from inside the balloon creates a force in an equal and opposite direction, propelling the car forward.