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.


activity video:



Engineering and Invention

Force and Motion: Friction



  • Essential:

  • Bobsled track (Length of rain gutter 2 yards long, more than one length helpful for having multiple tracks)

  • Stopwatch

  • Plastic pipette trays (Often disposed of by bio labs, plastic soap dish trays will also work)

  • Strips of fabric

  • Duct-tape covered, dead AA batteries

  • Pipe cleaners (can reuse, but will wear out over time)

  • Plastic straws (can reuse, but will wear out over time)

  • Binder clips

  • Additional Materials:

  • Photos of Bobsleds

safety issues


outdoor, indoor, olympics, mechanical engineering, design challenge, friction, physics


The Museum of Science, Boston