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Appleton fifth-graders construct and race unique 'cars'

By Louis Bettcher | Jun 14, 2017
Photo by: Louis Bettcher Holding a checkered flag, Appleton Village School fifth-grade teacher Tammy King led her class in the annual LINX Car Race on June 2.
Linx Car Race
Fifth-grade students at Appleton Village School compete in the Linx Car Race on June 2. (Video by: Louis Bettcher)

Appleton — Students and faculty at Appleton Village School filled the auditorium June 2 to watch their classmates compete in the LINX Car Race. Fifth-grade students in Tammy King's class designed their own self-powered race cars, which they built, painted and named.

King said that the fifth-graders studied a design by Sir Isaac Newton and followed a blueprint to build their own racing vehicles, which harnessed the power of gravity to zoom across the gymnasium floor. Students launched their vehicles down a ramp, sending them out at a variety of distances, which were then measured using a rolling measurement tool.

"They get pretty fired up about this," said King, who uses the construction process and racing event as part of the students' academic engineering unit.

Each student made choices regarding the size of wheels they would use, the heft of the wooden frame or car body, with the hope they create the most aerodynamic vehicle. The cars were then customized by students with brightly colored paint jobs, and each was given a unique name. Names of cars included "Rockin' Robin,' 'Cheetah Runner,' 'Thunderous Rainbow' and 'Silly Billy.'

"I hope you're thrilled with the looks of the cars, the styles, the names and their distances," said King to the onlookers, who cheered enthusiastically as each car made its way down the ramp.

The student cars were each given three trips down the ramp for the opportunity for the longest run. Holding a checkered flag, King introduced each competing vehicle as the students carried them for inspection before the assembled student body.

Although some vehicles took tumbles off the launching ramp, fortunately there was a makeshift racing "pit" nearby, where students could use tape, glue and spare "tires" to repair their vehicles. In addition to having their individual distances recorded, the fifth-graders' cars were judged on "most creative name" and "most stylish" by their fellow AVS students.

Official results for the LINX car race:


1 Cordelia Williams, Streak of Lightning, 59’ 1”

2. Aliyah Maddocks, Bugster Fugster 101, 52’ 1"

3. Franklin Coffey, SillyBilly, 41’ 6”

4. Danika Linscott, Thunderous Rainbow, 38’ 5”

5. Alana Fancy, #Golden, 37’ 2”

Most Creative Name:

1. Streak of Lightning, Cordelia Williams

2. The Hunter 3,000, Hazel Crabtree

3. SillyBilly, Franklin Coffey

4. Purple Lambroghini, Emily Brown

5. Ocean Breeze, Josie Pendleton

Most Stylish Car:

1. Thunderous Rainbow, Danika Linscott

2. The Hunter 3,000, Hazel Crabtree

3. The Rockin’ Roller, Emma Shackelford

4. Ocean Breeze, Josie Pendleton

5. Bugster Fugster 101, Aliyah Maddocks

Hazel Crabtree displays her race car, "The Hunter 3000" during the LINX Car Race at Appleton Village School on June 2. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Fifth-grade teacher Tammy King faces the students at Appleton Village School who assembled to watch the LINX Car Race on June 2. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Bystanders keep an eye out for approaching race cars at Appleton Village School on June 2. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
The distance of each car was recorded using a rolling measurement wheel on June 2. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
A golden race car rolls close to onlookers at Appleton Village School on June 2. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Autumn Porter displays her race car "Hashtag Winning" during the LINX Car Race on June 2. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Students were able to visit the "Pit" in between races and use glue and tape and spare wheels to make repairs to their cars. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Emma Shackelford displays her car, "Rockin' Roller," during the LINX Car Race on June 2. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Cordelia Williams reaches for her car after it completed a long distance run on June 2. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
Ethan Butler takes a trip to the "Pit" to make repairs to his race car on June 2. (Photo by: Louis Bettcher)
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