This pathway includes resources for a few different hands on engineering design challenges you can attempt at home.

1. Stack ‘Em Up Challenge: Family Edition

Using a rubber band and string, you must work together to stack six cups on top of each other in a pyramid shape as quickly as possible. Every participating family member must have a role.

The best cups for this challenge are SOLO plastic cups. Other plastic cups can also be used, but I would obviously not use anything that could break.

Let’s see whose family can do it in the shortest time!

2. Paper Tower Design Challenge

You must build the tallest free standing tower using only 20 pages of 8.5″ x 11″ paper.

Only this paper can be used (no tape!). You can tear or fold the pieces of paper.

Blank computer paper is ideal, but most of your junk mail will be printed on this size paper and can be used as well.

Let’s see whose family can design the tallest tower!

3. Marble Run Design Challenge

You must build a marble run that lasts at least 15 seconds. If it can last that long, try to extend your design to go even further!

You can use any materials found at home. The link for this challenge gives you lots of ideas, but you can also search online for other examples.

If you don’t have a marble, you can use any other small ball.

4. Chain Reaction Design Challenge

Chain reaction machines use the concepts of “cause and effect” as well as different types of simple machines. You must build some type of chain reaction machine that has at least five different parts to it.

You may have heard about “Rube Goldberg machines”. These are a type of chain reaction machine that end by doing some type of task, such as closing a door or turning on a water faucet. You can also choose to have your chain reaction end with a task, such as closing a door or turning on a water faucet.

The link for this challenge provides more information and videos to help you out. More ideas for making a Rube Golderg machine can be found here as well.

Here are some epic examples of chain reaction videos!

Want even more of a challenge?! OK Go is a musical group who created an incredible music video that was perfectly timed with a chain reaction machine. They are now challenging you to create your own chain reaction that times to some of their music clips. Read more about the challenge here.

Want to share your designs with others? Email me your photos or videos, and I will post them for others to see!