Materials List: Exploring Variables While Testing & Improving Mint-Mobiles
(for Elementary School)

A photo shows scissors, tape, ruler, straws, lifesaver-shaped white candies and index cards in a pile on a tabletop.
Copyright © 2010 Denise W. Carlson, ITL Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder

Each group needs:

  • Note: for mint-mobile construction supplies, the exact amounts required depend on the team's vehicle design; rough estimates are provided
  • plastic drinking straws (estimated 4-6; make sure the straw diameter is smaller than the mint candy's hole diameter)
  • Popsicle sticks (estimated 2-4)
  • lifesaver-shaped candies, such as Lifesaver┬« mints (estimated 3-6)
  • index cards (estimated 1-2; or thin cardboard or poster board scraps)
  • tape, any type; duct or masking preferred
  • scissors
  • paper and pencil

For the entire class to share:

  • ramp, for testing, made from sturdy poster board, rigid cardboard or thin wood
  • meter stick, for measuring the distance traveled
  • pennies, for added mass during testing (estimated 10-30 pennies; depending on robustness of mint-mobiles, individually tape pennies on vehicles, or tape a little baggie or film canister of pennies
  • tape, for securing the ramp, meter stick and pennies
  • (optional) hot glue gun and glue sticks (requires adult supervision)