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Machines are at the heart of nearly every engineering project. In this series, younger students will learn the major types, how they work and how to build and utilize a variety of simple machines each week, including pulleys, levers, wheels and axles, inclined planes, screws and wedges, all to understand concepts of mechanical advantage, friction, conservation of energy and more!

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TUE - 4:30 - 6:00 PM

Skill Level


Grade Level

Gr 3-5

Session 1

TUE: Sep 10, 2019 - Oct 29, 2019 [4:30 - 6:00 PM]



Week 1:

What is a machine?: Students are introduced to the concept of machines and how they integrate into our everyday lives.

Week 2:

Pulleys: Students learn how to build a pulley, the forces they alleviate, and how they make work easier!

Week 3:

Levers: Students learn how to build a lever, the forces they alleviate, and how to use them to lift objects heavier than the force exerted!

Week 4:

Wheels and axles: The mechanics of wheels and axles are shown to build a small car they can race at the end of class!

Week 5:

Inclined Planes: Students are challenged to imagine how to use an inclined plane to solve a problem.

Week 6:

Building Week I: Students begin to design and build a Rube Goldberg device that gets an egg from one end of the table to the other without breaking!

Week 7:

Building Week II: Students continue to build their machines for final challenge week.

Week 8:

Challenge Week: Students take all they've learned to finally get the egg from one end of the table to the other without breaking (hopefully)!

Session 2

TUE: Nov 5, 2019 - Jan 14, 2020 [4:30 - 6:00 PM]
(No class on Nov 26, Dec 24, Dec 31)

Engineering Design to Smart Contraptions

Engineering design techniques are critical to building things right. In this series, younger students will learn the engineering design process, including the concept of Engineering Design Loop, 3D design/printing, as well as graphic design, all while creating some cool little machines building upon lessons from prior session.

Week 1:

Engineering Design Process: Students learn the fundamentals of the engineering design process by designing "a better (non-lethal) mouse trap."

Week 2:

3D Design I: Students learn how to use TinkerCAD to begin creating their concept for a "mouse trap" in digital form.

Week 3:

3D Design II: Students continue to experiment with the design and then print their "mouse trap" concept.

Week 4:

3D Design III: Students finalize their 3D printed "mouse trap" and test it

Week 5:

Epic Fail Designs!: Students will get a kick out of seeing what weird, unsuccessful contraptions mankind has dreamed up over the years and then building one of their own funky contraptions to take home!

Week 6:

Smart Solutions: Students are presented with one of three real-world problems to solve and then challenged to engineer a solution by using only five basic materials from the shop!

Week 7:

Smart Graphic Design: Students get creative with a graphic design to compliment their "Smart Solution."

Week 8:

Smart Solutions Finale: Students finalize their builds with graphic designs and then make a sales pitch to "Shark" investors (parents invited to attend)!

Session 3

TUE: Jan 21, 2020 - Mar 10, 2020 [4:30 - 6:00 PM]

City Construction & Earthquakes

Students will learn the engineering behind a variety of structures they see everyday throughout the city, including buildings, bridges, and houses, then build different structures every couple of weeks that will be tested on an "earthquake simulation platform."

Week 1:

What's in a House? Students learn the engineering challenges in building a two-story house using a variety of materials.

Week 2:

House Building II: Students complete their house building and show off to the class.

Week 3:

Bridges I: They'll learn different kinds of bridges - suspension, arch, suspension - then choose the right type to build for the scenario given to them by the instructor.

Week 4:

Bridge II: Students complete the construction of their bridges.

Week 5:

Skyscrapers I: Students first learn how skyscrapers are built, along with how to make them earthquake proof, then begin their design to withstand a Magnitude 7.0!

Week 6:

Skyscrapers II: Students continue their tall building construction.

Week 7:

Skyscrapers III: Students complete their tall buildings.

Week 8:

Earthquake Testing: With an "earthquake simulation platform," each student's projects are tested, rebuilt and retested for earthquake resilience.

Session 4

TUE: Mar 17, 2020 - May 19, 2020 [4:30 - 6:00 PM]
(No class on Mar 31, Apr 7)

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Included Materials



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