National Science Teaching Association: Why Is Plastic Used to Build Race Cars?

What happens when two different materials are used together to create NASCAR car parts?

That’s just what second-grade students want to figure out! Students investigate what the effect of adding carbon fiber (fabric) to plastic (glue) has on the observable properties of the resulting object.


Carbon Fiber Investigation Materials (each station)

  • Prepared fabric on aluminum foil

Teacher setup will require these items:

  • 4 pieces of wax paper or aluminum foil per station;
  • 7 small pieces of fabric (cotton T-shirt works fine);
  • Scissors;
  • Small container for mixing glue and water;
  • White School Glue;
  • Water;
  • Paintbrush; and
  • Marker or pen-style permanent marker.

Materials for Posters or Writing on the Board

  • Poster Paper and Markers OR
  • Whiteboard and Dry Erase Markers

Science Topics
Chemistry, Sports
Engineering Topics
K-6, Educator
Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade
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