The Phoenix


  • Leah – grade 8
  • Kayley – grade 8


  • Mr. Vanslyke – Teacher
  • Colin – grade 8, photographer


Our beginning step was to gather all the materials we felt we would need. This included 2 straws, balsawood, 4 wheels, 4 tires, & 2 axles, a solar panel, & a motor. We then started assembly by measuring our solar panel, and balsawood, so we would know what pieces of balsawood would best fit our needs. Then we took two long narrow strips (roughly 3 inches shorter then the length of the solar panel) of balsawood & took 2 short narrow pieces of balsawood (roughly the width of the solar panel), & hot glued them together to form the base of our car. Next we took 2 pieces of balsawood that are roughly 5 inches long, & cot a slant into them for the solar panel to rest on. After cutting the slants we hot glued them onto the base. Then we cut a straw to be a bit shorter then the axle on both sides, & hot glued them onto the bottom front & back of the base. then we put a thin rectangle of balsawood onto our base, & attached a motor with a gear on it. Next we attached the front axle with two tires, & the back axle with 2 tires & 1 gear. After that we attached the solar panel to the frame, and wired it to our motor. Then when we tested our car out the first time, it didn’t roll on the ground. So we changed out the gears to a small gear on the motor & a large gear on the axle. We thought that would fix the problem, but we soon realized it was the motor, so we changed out the motor to a stronger one & instead of using gears, we attached a plastic wheel directly to the motor. When we tested this design it did work, but we found a way to improve on the design, we changed our wires to the solar panel. Then once it worked, we added our sides, wings, fire, eyes, & name.

Our Car Running

4 thoughts on “The Phoenix

  • Very thorough job explaining your process and adjustments. I really like the theme, the Phoenix. Great run in the sun on some rough surface. Congratulations and good luck!

  • It’s great to read the progress you made with your car. I also really like the three wheel design, it looks like a well made car.

  • I love hearing you work through the engineering design process in terms of iterative problem solving. Don’t stop designing!

  • Thank for sharing all the details about your journey with the Phoenix. It was wonderful to see how your team worked together to try various solutions, before reaching your final car. Great job team!


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