448050911201448 Comparing Solar Car Kits - What is the best solar car kit for STEM learning? | Polka Dots and Protons - Interactive Science Notebooks & More

My goal is to make interactive science notebooks engaging for 5th grade and middle school science students while improving science test scores. NGSS expert, teacher, tpt author, mom, & widow

Comparing Solar Car Kits - What is the best solar car kit for STEM learning?

Our 4th-grade team won a grant to bring our Solar Stagecoach STEM Project to life with solar car kits. This project includes reading the fabulous book Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan and building solar stagecoaches.

Standards bridged the NGSS science standards while covering the California gold rush social studies standards.

Solar Car Kits Tested

All 3 of the solar car kits I purchased next were on Amazon. I'll tell you my favorite kit first.

My Favorite Solar Car Kit:

Solar Car Model Kit from Oulun

Affordability: Acceptable 

These cars are $15.66 each on Amazon

Engagement and Fun: Great

This car zooms in the sun. I haven't added batteries because I'm happy with how it moves with the solar panels. This solar car has an on/off button which is cool and the wheels are great.

Ease of Assembly: Um, I'll explain. 

1. The instructions are not in English and the description on Amazon is not in great English. Fortunately, my son is home for college for Christmas break and he helped me put the car together I videoed him and will put together the steps and post them. Here is a link to the video we made on how to put the cars together.

2. The one issue with the components is that I'll need wire strippers to prep some of the wires. 

3. I'll need to take my blow dryer to school for kids to use to shrink a wire cover. Not a big deal but I wanted to include that bit of info.

These cars are super fun and I'll be ordering a lot of them.

Thames and Cosmos Solar Race Car

Thames & Cosmos Solar Race Car

Affordability: Acceptable 

This car cost $19.89 on Amazon

Engagement and Fun: Acceptable

This solar car kit is adequately speedy. It is a small car and the design is more modern than what I'd like for this solar stagecoach project. The car is a bit too small also.

Ease of Assembly: Acceptable 

This car was super easy to put together. It took about 3 minutes and the parts easily snapped together.

Fashionclub Solar Toy Car Kit

Fashionclub Solar Car Kit - Set of 4

Affordability: These cars are very affordable! They cost $9.99 for 4 cars so they are only $2.50

Engagement and Fun: Not acceptable

The car is really tiny and struggles to move even on smooth surfaces.

Ease of Assembly: Not Acceptable

Some of the parts are teeny tiny and not great to handle. My students were able to put the car together. The instructions were not in English.

I'll update you as we bring this project to life. We are starting to read Riding Freedom next week. I'm excited to see how all of this turns out. Wish me luck!