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.

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 There are also historical references to Betsy Ross who created the design of the United States flag with its unique 5-pointed stars.Origami mathematics s the study of the geometry of origami.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.

Paper Helicopters

Create a simple paper toy “helicopter” that spins as it falls.
This is a deceptively simple activity that lets you explore complex behavior of air and pressure. With a piece of paper, scissors and a few folds you can explore aerodynamics.

Duct Tape Activity

Using the handyman’s secret weapon, collaborate with or encourage participants to build a unique creation out of one simple material, duct tape.Take risks with limited resources. Explore creativity; embrace the challenges of the materials and collaborate with other to create something original out of duct tape.

Wind Racers

Wind racers is a fun activity that helps visitors play with moving air and transform it into doing work. Using sails and small-wheeled carts, they explore how wind can be used to move a boat or in this case a cart or a wind racer. Visitors construct a wind racer using paper for sails, dowels, and small-wheeled carts. There is a smooth raceway path with a fan blowing from one end of it on which the visitors will race their creations or see how far they can make it.

Paper Circuits

Using self-adhesive tape made from conductive copper, create a working light circuit on plain paper, or incorporate electronic elements into art, games, or paper crafts.

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.