A fun activity that allows visitors to play with pterosaur anatomy as a frame for a simple glider they will build. Visitors construct their glider with straws, cardstock as wings, tail, and crest, with a rubber band on the head to use as a launching mechanism. Visitors build and test different crest and wing shapes on their gliders using two stationary launchers, watching how well the glider’s fly through the air, making changes to improve their flights.
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.
They love to ride them, now they’ll love to build them! Students explore potential and kinetic energy and apply what they learn to build their own roller coasters made of foam tubing, tinker toys, and marbles.
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.
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.
Participants will use the engineering design process to create structures made of 3’ dowel rods and rubber bands.Encourage guest to build a structure with dowel rods and rubber bands. The design is determined by the guests, as is the method for attaching dowel rods together. Facilitators may use prompts to direct the design process: i.e. can you build a structure within which you can stand?
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.
Can you and your class or group survive on a deserted island?
Working in small teams, students design, build, and test solutions to survive on a deserted island.
Inflatables is an open-ended design activity that focuses on 3D spatial reasoning. In this activity, learners use recycled materials and simple tools to create inflatable creatures or sculptures. This activity is adaptable for a wide range of age. For example, older learners can make and test complex creations, while younger learners are happy with decorating a small bag and then launching it off the fan.