One-Cut Paper Stars

Take a full sheet of letter-sized paper and fold it. Then with just one snip of a scissors unfold that same piece of paper and you have a five-pointed star! We like this activity as it introduces the idea of using specific paper folds to create the silhouettes of almost any shape (polygon) with one cut of a pair of scissors. Harry Houdini, the famous magician; describe this “trick” in his 1922 book titled Paper Magic. There are also historical references to Betsy Ross who created the design of the United States flag with its unique 5-pointed stars.Origami mathematics s the study of the geometry of origami. The practical goal of this activity is to engage learners in the material exploration of geometry through origami and paper-cutting.

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.

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

Cupcake Delivery

In this hands­on activity, participants create wind­powered land yachts to deliver 3D­printed cupcakes to hungry beachgoers. This activity is a great introduction.
Guests will engineer land yachts, vehicles which use a combination of wheels and wind power to move around.
Yacht designs must include some sort of receptacle for the cupcake to sit in. Once assembled, guests test their creations on the fan­powered “beach” track.

Chain Reaction

The objective is to see if a little input energy can be continued through a system in either a single event or a variety of ways. Users build sequences of events such that one action triggers another action which triggers another action and so on. Falling dominoes are a basic form of this. Rube Goldberg inventions are the most intricate. There are multiple beginning and end points for chain reactions; each depends on the actions of the individual builders, and all are made meaningful by what happens in the middle, especially the process of building and problem solving. Users are invited to try out an idea; build toward it, test it, redesign, build and test again. And again. Things fall apart. Things fall over. Working with My Chain Reaction often means figuring out how to make something do what you want it to do through multiple attempts and arrangements, or thinking of ways to use a specific item to continue a sequence of action.