Students in the physical science classroom of teacher Joe Slifka spent a lot of time last month blowing up balloons.
They weren't having a party, but instead were trying to prove Newton's Laws of Motion, while attempting to win a competition pitting one balloon car against another.
The cars, built entirely of items found around the house, were powered by the force of a single 12-inch balloon. About 90 students making up 25 teams took part in building cars and competing to have their names engraved on the classroom trophy.
''There is a lot of data collecting going on,'' Slifka said. ''They have to measure their car's speed, acceleration, mass and how much force it takes to hit the wall.''
The contest was made up of three trials and the car traveling the farthest powered by the balloon won the trophy.
The winning team was comprised of students James Pedicini, David Sandora-Ginteri, Gavin Nicol, and Omar Amireh, who called themselves the Lightning Bolts.
''Our car is made of styrofoam, which is lighter, and we built it lower to the ground,'' said team captain, James Pedicini.
In fact, Slifka said, the Lightning Bolts' car traveled so far, they had to take it out of the classroom and into the school hallway to get an accurate measurement.
Other cars in the competition were made of materials that included cardboard, popsicle sticks and wheels made of bottle caps or wooden buttons. Real wheels from model cars were not allowed, Slifka said.
The teams had one week to build the cars, Slifka said.