Problem Solvers

Resilient rovers

Resilient rovers

Get crafty and build a space rover that would be able to zoom around the moon! 

Activity overview

30 mins+
Ages 9 – 11

Science topics:


You will need:

Vehicles – KNEX kits, Lego kits and toy cars/vehicles to add to, mixed materials (bubble wrap, sandpaper, foam, corrugated card, paper, drawing pins, fabrics, foil etc), scissors, tape. 

Sometimes you have to solve a problem on the spot. Explain that today the class will need to make a space rover using just the materials provided. 

Run the activity

1. Explain that working as a team, they will have 20 minutes to look at the materials and create their lunar rover. Encourage the children to think about what components a lunar rover might need. Think about what is it used for, who or what it might need to carry and what kind of terrain it might need to cover. Can they think of any vehicles on Earth that do a similar job?

2. After 20 minutes, get them to swap creations with another group. Continue working, but this time on the unfamiliar creation. How can they improve it?

3. After 10 more minutes, survey the final creations. What have they learned from swapping projects? 

Background science

A rover is a space-exploration vehicle designed to move across the surface of a planet or other celestial body. Their wheels are very important and the children will need to think of this carefully when designing their rovers.
The Juno rover, designed by the Canadian Space Agency, can use many different types of wheels (rubber, metal or iRings) or a set of metal tracks. A flat tyre is always unwelcome, but even more if you are in the midst of roving on the Moon! iRings are specially developed rugged rover wheels made of an outer layer that looks like chain mail, which can be filled with whatever material might be available (for instance, lunar soil and rocks). Their sturdy, flexible design allows a rover to drive over rocks, lumps and bumps that are typical of the extreme terrain found on the Moon.

Take it further

Have a look at our What's Going On? activity Manoeuvring on the Moon which will show the children five examples of rovers being tested in Hawaii in preparation for them going to the moon. 

Image credit: Castleski via Shutterstock SL