Transportation

1. Paper Airplanes

Making a paper airplane can be simple or complex: tap into your engineering skills and give it a try.

Suggested Materials
– Paper, scissors, tape, paperclips

Challenge your paper airplane engineering skills by testing the following:
– How far can your paper airplane fly?
– How many different style paper airplanes can you make? How does each fly differently?
– What improvements can you make to your plane after testing it?

Resources
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written & Picture Guides

Click here to take this challenge to the next level.

2. Bridge Building

Much of the world’s transportation relies on bridges. How can a strong bridge be made out of simple materials? Test your civil engineering skills by building and testing different paper bridge designs.

Suggested Materials
– Paper, pennies or other coins for weights, two thick heavy books, ruler, tape.

Challenge your bridge building skills by testing the following:
– How much weight can one piece of paper hold? What about two? Three?
– How do different shapes affect how much weight a bridge can hold?
– How do different materials affect your bridge?

Resources
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written & Picture Guides

Click here to take this challenge to the next level.

3. Boat Design

Despite being made of heavy materials such as metal and wood, boats are able to float and move easily across the surface of water. How do boats stay afloat? Challenge yourself to build a boat that can hold weight and move from place to place using the power of the wind.

Suggested Materials
– Aluminum foil, straws, paper products, scissors, tape, pennies or other small items to use as weights. Optional materials include: sponges, wax paper, toothpicks and whatever else you want to build with!

Challenge your boat design skills by testing the following:
– How much weight can you hold in a boat made simply out of aluminum foil and tape? Can you hold more weight using different shape boats?
– Many boats move using wind as a motor. What size or shape sail will make your boat move the fastest?
– How else could you propel your boat?

Resources
Video for Younger Students
Written for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written for Older Students

Take this challenge to the next level
Rubber Band Paddle Boat
Balloon Powered Boat

4. Car Engineering

A basic toy car uses one of the most important simple machines: a wheel and axle. Use materials found around the house and your imagination to design and build your own toy car with spinning wheels. Then add a propelling device, such as a balloon or sail, and see how far it will go!

Suggested Materials
– Cardboard, plastic bottle or other container to use as body of the car, pencils, wooden skewers or wire to use as axles, bottle caps, CDs or something round to use for wheels, straws, liquid glue, tape, a lot of imagination!

Challenge your car engineering skills by testing the following:
– How will you make the wheels of your car spin?
– What can you use to power your car? How far will it go?
– What are the challenges and results of different car designs?

Resources
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions

Click here to take this challenge to the next level.

5. Helicopters

The first helicopter was built in the 1940’s, but hundreds of years before that, artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci sketched the very first helicopter prototype (with no motor, of course). Make your own da Vinci-like helicopter using basic materials — and see how it flies!

Suggested Materials
– Paper, scissors, pencil, paper clips. Optional materials: paper cups, rubber bands, dowels

Challenge your helicopter engineering skills by testing the following:
– How does changing the length of your propellers affect how it spins?
– How long can you get your helicopter to stay in the air?
– How does adding more propellers affect its flight?

Resources
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions
Basic Template

Click here to take this challenge to the next level.

We'd love to see what you make!

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