Chain Reaction II

Participants will use an assortment of items (mainly household items) to complete Rube Goldberg-type challenges.

Encourage guest to build a device that will complete a task through the use of chain reactions. Using basic physics concepts (inertia, gravity, force, motion) and common items, guests will build Rube Goldberg-type machines.

Extreme Trampolines

A great deal of science and engineering goes in to building a trampoline. Through this activity, participants explore different materials and how their properties affect a trampoline’s ability to make something bounce as high as possible or as low as possible off its surface.

The goal of this challenge is to build a trampoline that can make a golf ball bounce as high or as low as possible off its surface. Working in small teams, participants use a variety of materials to design, build, and test their trampolines in our trampoline testers. Participants think and build like engineers as they experience the design process to make improvements to their trampolines through redesigning and retesting prototypes.

Trophy Triathlon

Think like an engineer and design, build, and test a trophy that can hold up a sports ball. Students work in teams or independently to build a structure to support a load.

Balancing Bears

Working individually or in small groups, participants use recycled materials to design, build, and test a device to balance upright on an unbalanced platform and travel down a sloped tight rope.  The goal of this challenge is to build a device to hold an Ewok action figure as high up off the platform as possible and still travel safely down the tight rope without flipping over. Participants think and build like engineers as they experience the design process to make improvements to their devices through redesigning and retesting prototypes.

Circuit Blocks

This is an activity to help visitors play with circuits and electrical components. Visitors will use alligator clips to explore how to create simple circuits. It is a safe low-power activity. People often do not have a clear idea of how electricity works: they may be unsure if they can get a “shock” from battery-powered circuits. We’re using two 1.5 volt batteries together – adding up to 3 volts – very low voltage.

Tiny Drawings

In this activity visitors create drawings and paintings by looking through stereoscopic microscopes and a set of simple materials: paper, pencils, ink pens, colored pencils, very small tipped paint brushes and colored ink. We first introduced this activity as an alternative way of introducing the microscope that brings together art and science for a yearly event we do at our museum called “Microscope Day” where we invite education and research groups that use microscopes in their daily work to share these activities with visitors.

Stop Motion Animation

A fun activity that allows visitors to bring dinosaurs to life through stop motion animation. We created two panoramic illustrated backdrops of environments with flora and fauna for staging the animations. The two sets come with some DIY vegetation props and a set of detailed plastic dinosaur models. Visitors can choose to use an available smartphone with an animation app on the phone or their smart phone (after they install the free animation app) to record their animations

Toy Mash-Up

Participants take apart toys to create a new character. They do this by cutting, dissembling and putting pieces together with added embellishments such as buttons, beads, jewels, ribbons, etc. Participants then display their creations for everyone to enjoy.

Paper Rockets

Participants will use the engineering design process to create paper rockets. Then, they will use compressed air launchers to send the rocket through one of two large rings, suspended from the ceiling.
Encourage guest to build paper rockets that will eventually fly through the rings that are suspended from the ceiling. Fin/nosecone design can greatly influence the flight of a rocket; encourage guests to try different designs.

Bobsleds

Bobsled racing combines science and engineering to design the most efficient sled. Participants will explore friction, gravity, and air resistance and their impact on acceleration.
Working individually or in small groups, visitors use recycled materials to design, build, and test their bobsled on our 8-foot long bobsled track. Get a first-hand experience of the design process that scientists and engineers undergo by conceptualizing the problem, designing and testing a prototype, and making modifications as necessary to optimize the solution.
The goal of this challenge is to create a miniature bobsled that is either as fast or as slow as possible. Start with one bobsled base – ours are the trays used to package pipette tips; if you’re going to try this at home, you could use soap dishes.