Soaring Satellites

Working individually or in small teams, students try to build a satellite that can float for at least five seconds in the marked area of a vertical wind tubes. Using simple materials, students explore the concepts of lift and weight as they test and redesign their prototype.

Ships Ahoy!

Using simple, colorful, and recycled materials, students design and build a model vessel to achieve the optimal use of wind power. Find a hull and sail configuration that moves across our water track in the fastest time, or carries the largest cargo of treasure. This is a fun, hands-on activity that reinforces the engineering design cycle. Students can apply their knowledge and understanding of wind power, buoyancy, displacement, friction, and lift to their sailboat design.

Dive into Design

Learn how to engage your students in the engineering design process through participation in hands-on design challenges. Staff will experience two mini design challenges related to The Tech Challenge 2015 on Seismic Engineering. All staff will leave with two age-appropriate design challenges they can use at their site(s) and the option of taking their creation. Come build your own solutions and see how much fun this would be to do with students of all ages and backgrounds.

The Challenge: Build a skyscraper that has limited roof drift.

Dowels and Rubber Bands I

Kids build structures with 3-foot dowels and rubber bands. There are many ways to build and to make things stand up, but making things stable is not a trivial task. You can make things that are very big – even big enough for several children to get inside


If you were stranded in a remote location, what problems would you face? What would you make to help solve one of those problems? Designers need to think deeply about the problems they are trying to solve. And, they often have to make do with a limited set of materials. This activity asks students to detail a compelling problem and solve it with what they have on hand.

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.

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.