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Elastic energy

... invent: elastic energy

Switzerland, the land of the chocolate manufacturer, sells chocolate all over the world. For this reason the merchandise must be transported. Either by train, lorry, ship, airplane, on foot, by bicycle, or on the back of a horse. 
All the forms of locomotion (mobility) need energy. The train needs electric current, the sailboat requires wind, and you need food to walk. Working as a transport contractor (that is how we call the owner of a transport vehicle), build your own cargo vehicle using the elastic potential energy of a balloon as the only source of energy.

Ballon-Transport Who can tell how far this balloon transport has come?

erfinde elastische Energie
...invent: Transport chocolate with a balloon - elastic propulsion

Classroom competition

Team, vehicle

  • You may work alone or in groups of maximum size 3.
  • You can use the same vehicle built during the ...explore tasks, a self made invention or an already existent vehicle.
  • The load transporter will carry a 100g chocolate bar.
  • The vehicle will only be powered by one balloon. This balloon can be cut apart, put back together, twisted...
  • Each vehicle receives a standard commercial balloon of 33cm diameter, which must be installed into the vehicle within 5 minutes.
  • The balloon is the only source of energy allowed - no motors, no pushing and no blowing is permitted.
Ballonwettbewerb You can use the elastic potential energy of the balloon in many different ways, not only inflated. For example, you can transform it into a long rubber band. The elastic potential energy is the drive train of your lorry.

The start and how to measure the distance traveled

  • The tip of the vehicle is set at the starting line on a smooth floor, like in a gymnasium.
  • The vehicle may not be pushed but only released: it must start on its own.
  • After the start you may not touch the vehicle anymore.
  • The inventor stays behind the starting line and may only go the vehicle once it has come to a full stop.
  • No installations are permitted on the floor past the starting line.
  • The length of the run is measured from the starting line to the furthest point that the vehicle has reached.
  • The three longest runs are measured (in centimetres) within a time limit set by all the teams.
  • The average of the three longest runs is calculated (in centimetres and millimetres), which serves as thecompetition result.

Prize ideas

Awards may be given for different categories.

  • Longest run
  • The most original transport vehicle, with the most original transport means and the show to go with it.

Please send us an e-mail with the results for your competiton. Take the average of the three longest distances traveled.  It would be nice if you attach photos of the team and of the vehicle, and attach a short video in which the vehicle is quickly presented. Show in the film how the cargo vehicle is replenished with energy and how it travels.


You will receive important information regarding explore-it four times yearly with this registration.


Schools for Teacher Education of Valais (PHVS) and University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, School for Teacher Education (PH FHNW)

My Account

Sequences: Guide
You have access to the task descriptions and experiments as soon as you receive the kit.