What Is the Best RC Car for Teaching STEM to Kids?


What Is the Best RC Car for Teaching STEM to Kids?


Before discussing the best RC car to use in children’s STEM education, it might first be helpful for us to look at why STEM lessons have become so popular in recent years with schools, teachers, and parents.

The letters STEM stand for four academic disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. A STEM education emphasizes these fields and challenges students to apply their problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills to real-life situations, instead of limiting their learning to the information contained in a textbook. Innovative STEM lesson plans that incorporate radio control car models into the curriculum increase the student’s engagement by making the learning process active and fun.

For students, the best RC car to use when teaching STEM will be one that’s easy and enjoyable to drive and provides at least some opportunity for them to explore the assembly process and mechanical design. By building, maintaining, and fine-tuning a remote control car, students exercise their hand-eye coordination, tool using skills, and ability to follow instructions. Sharing the responsibilities for operating an RC car also encourages everyone in the class to work together as a team, which strengthens their social and communication skills.

For the teachers who develop and implement STEM lessons in their schools, the best RC car to use should meet a few other practical criteria. For example, it has to be affordable enough to fit into the classroom budget, and it should be durable enough to continue running long after the lessons are over.

More characteristics of the best RC car for STEM education.

The best RC cars for STEM use are essentially miniature versions of full-size vehicles. Fortunately, this describes nearly every hobby-quality radio control vehicle on the market. “Hobby-quality” distinguishes the well-made RC cars sold in hobby stores from the cheaper, more disposable toy models found on department store shelves.

Like full-size cars, the best RC cars have driveshafts, gearboxes, suspension systems, and many other realistic but scaled-down components. So when the students study their RC car, they’re also learning about mechanical engineering principles that will have useful applications outside of the classroom and throughout their lives.

If you’re a teacher, you’ll need to consider whether the best RC car for your STEM lesson should be an RC car kit or a ready-to-run RC car. RC car kit assembly involves lots of small parts and can take days or longer to complete, even for experienced hobbyists. For that reason, a kit may not be the best RC car for a teacher who has a limited amount of time for each lesson. Even if the subject matter involves mechanical engineering, the best RC car may still be an RTR (ready-to-run) vehicle. Many RTRs will still require the students to complete at least a little assembly. And the RC car will still provide opportunities for adding optional parts in order to accomplish specific goals or reach higher performance levels.

The best RC car for STEM education will allow the class to experiment with changing and upgrading some of its parts and components. And again, most hobby-grade RC cars do. Just be sure to check out what aftermarket parts are available for the RC car before choosing it. You might want the class to try out different wheels and tires, brushed versus brushless motors, or different compatible battery types, such as Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Lithium-Polymer (LiPo). Whether it’s a kit or an RTR, an RC car can offer lots of different ways to explore the effects of modifications.

Of course, let’s not forget how much fun RC cars used for STEM education are to drive — and how much students will love taking their turn the wheel. Students can challenge each other to complete exciting tests of driving skill with their RC vehicles. RC car racing can be used to support math and physics based lessons, such as measuring speed, distance, and time.

To choose the best RC car for your STEM lesson, try using the RC Car Finder on the Horizon Hobby website. One by one, you’ll select a size, vehicle type, power system, drivetrain, and a few other characteristics, eventually arriving at just a handful of RC car choices. Any of them should meet your classroom needs.

Why ARRMA® BOOST™ vehicles are among the best RC cars for STEM.

Designed especially for RC hobby beginners, the ARRMA brand’s BOOST vehicle series has many unique advantages that make these some of the best RC car choices for use in STEM education.

Chief among them is the affordable price. You can find ARRMA BOOST monster trucks, stadium trucks, and short course trucks at your local hobby shop — fully assembled, fully equipped, and ready to run — for less than $200 each. ARRMA RC cars are also highly regarded in the RC industry for being exceptionally sturdy. Your students can run them at full speed straight into walls without worrying that they’ll break. And because they’re engineered for “all road” use, ARRMA BOOST RC cars can be driven on concrete, pavement, dirt, grass, rocks, and practically any other surface. They don’t require a special track or conditions.

Finally, only the ARRMA BOOST line includes a variety of convenient BOOST Box upgrade kits to improve each vehicle’s performance. You can purchase a BOOST Box to upgrade your BOOST RC car from 2WD to 4WD, to change it from a brushed motor to brushless motor power, to give it wider suspension arms for increased stability, and more. Each BOOST Box contains all of the parts needed to make a specific upgrade, and ARRMA has produced video instructions to show how to do it. They’re a natural for STEM projects.

For teachers who have no RC background, the ARRMA BOOST product line makes it very easy to use RC cars in the classroom. And even without any upgrades, an ARRMA BOOST RC vehicle is capable of 30 mph or more. They’re the best RC car to make your STEM lessons educational and exciting for everyone!

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