The educators and scientists at The Tech Interactive have created 10 different design challenges for you to try. Some will make you think. Some are a little silly. But if you stick with us, in just 10 days we promise you’ll be a more confident builder! A more ingenious innovator! And a more creative ... creator!
We know that our hands carry a lot of germs, but seeing is believing! This fun, two-person activity has a friend use colored cornstarch to create a trail of evidence of things they’ve touched. Then, using computational thinking instead of looking, you’ll create a sequence of questions to help you figure out what surfaces are “contaminated.”
Become a playground designer and create a space that is fun, both for you and other kids. Sketch out your plans for the latest and greatest playground, designed for you and a fictional friend, then introduce everyone to the playground of the future!
The educators and scientists at The Tech Interactive have created five different design challenges for you to try at home! Each day has a different theme, starting with things you can wear and ending with things you can play!
Can you move as smoothly and silently as a ninja? In this experiment, you’ll use your stealthy ninja skills to move through a noisy obstacle course while holding a smartphone that is recording data on your performance.
Have you ever tried to think like a computer? Guess what? You probably do it all the time without even knowing! In this fun activity you’ll apply your computational thinking skills to jigsaw puzzles. In addition to doing a puzzle, you’ll create an algorithm or set of instructions to help someone else solve jigsaw puzzles.
Can you make color-changing paint from a simple cabbage? No doubt, sauerkraut. This activity from the scientists behind our BioTinkering Lab brings together biology, chemistry and art for an experience that is all science, and a little bit of magic.
The cabbage inks activity was made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), Grant Number R25 GM129220, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Extract: 1½ hours Mix & make colors: 30 min Dry: 1-3 days Create: 30 min
Design for All: Face Masks for Friends Sponsored by Stanford Children's Health
In this activity, you will play the role of a product designer, identify a user (like a favorite stuffed animal or person!) and get to know their individual needs. You will create a design concept for a face mask, focusing on its fit and comfort.
Ever wanted to grow your own paper or plastic? Or create leather that doesn’t use animals? All these can be done at home by collaborating with microbes — tiny microscopic organisms — to grow a custom biomaterial.
You’re the mayor of a growing town and you need to decide whether or not to build a new dam to generate electricity. What factors will you consider? Would thinking like a computer help you decide? Play Responsible Reservoirs to find out!
Nature is full of solutions to various problems— whether it be protection from predators, inhabiting harsh environments, or finding a meal. Use biomimicry to learn about unique organisms and be inspired to create something new for human use!
In this fun activity, you will work as an engineer to build and test a wildlife crossing for a specific animal’s needs. Use your creativity and imagination to figure out how to help an animal cross the road safely!
Build a structure to take on an earthquake. Our latest activity sizes up your seismic safety. You’ll make a simple shake table and then construct a building that can withstand your shakes, rattles and rolls.
Duration: DIY Shake Table: 5-30 min Earthquake-Safe Structure: 45+ min
A linkage is created by connecting two or more rigid parts to make a flexible hinge; you can keep it simple or develop complex mechanical motion by connecting multiple linkages to create all kinds of contraptions. (Think flapping wings, dancing robots, chomping sharks!) At The Tech we especially love how linkages inspire the creation of whimsical characters with surprising motions.
Some people may call it a junk drawer, but we like to think of it as a treasure chest. Our guide and video will show you how to repurpose your trash into treasured materials that you can use to design, build and create!
In this design challenge, you will create your own roller coaster, using a marble or small ball as your cart. This activity is a great introduction to hands-on engineering for children 6 and up, and it can be used to introduce connections of energy and friction for older children.