How do you design a sailboat with LEGOS to glide as fast and far as possible using only the wind power of a box fan? Beye 3rd graders took on that challenge in true competitive spirit as part of OPEF’s Geared Up Program, in which all District 97 3rd graders learn about force and motion by building and testing LEGO simple machines.

“The Lego Land Yacht Races are huge amounts of exhilarating fun and hands-on learning for my third graders who are able to develop engineering skills, extend their learning about simple machines, and demonstrate great teamwork and collaboration. We love it!” said Ms. Choi, who participated in the program along with Ms. Jean Walsh-Kallay.

Land Yachts whizzed across the floor, showcasing designs by teams of two or three who followed very specific building instructions. Creatively working together, they collaborated on sail size, sail placement, wheel size, and the shape of the vehicle. After initial testing with a box fan, the kids tweaked their designs, experimenting by changing one variable at a time, to build the fastest racer possible. All that competitive jockeying didn’t take away from good sportsmanship. The teams rooted for each other, handled disappointment with grace, and lauded the winners.


Land Yacht

Video and photos courtesy of David T. Kindler.