Designs Inspired by Nature

Engineers and scientist are looking to nature when they need new ideas on how to make something or do something. This is called biomimicry! Biomimicry is the method that seeks a sustainable solutions by utilizing nature’s time tested forms, functions, and strategies.  Take the Designs Inspried by Nature quiz to see if you can figure out what things were inspired by nature’s plants and animals!


Engineering a Ski Chair at Mt. Wachusett!

At Wachusett Ski Mountain we held an engineering competition. Skiers and boarders in grades K-7 participated! Contestants were asked to design a model of gondola (for a lift) from paper and see how much weigh it could hold. Contestants were then challenged to re-design their gondola in order to have it hold more weight. We used marbles to add weight to the chairs. The only requirement was that they could not use more than one 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of construction paper. They were offered three different types of tape (clear, masking, and duck tape), Popsicle sticks, string, and aluminum foil.

First time builders:
First Place: Camryn: 144 marbles
Second Place: Tim and Jack: 137 marbles

When it came to engineering a better chair the second time:

First Place: Caleb was our master at holding the most weight: 812 marbles

Second Place: Nick was our innovator, being the first to venture on his own: (308 marbles).

 Honorable Mention to: Brendon, Nico, Logan, Genevieve, JP, Owen, Andrew, Brady, Nora, and KiKi! Great job everyone!!!! For those of you, who took stuff home….we anxiously, await your results!

Engineer Your Own Tower Building Competition

First watch our Science Bug Investigators’ Tower Building Competition!

Next choose the materials that you would like use to make your tower.  If you are doing this with friends and making this into a competition to see who can build the tallest tower, everyone has to have the same exact materials.  You can even compete against your self if you have a duplicate set of materials. Your goal would to be to try to build a taller tower than you did the first time.

Next decide if the amount of tape be limited or unlimited. If you limit the tape, you would give everyone only a certain amount, like 2 feet. If unlimited, give them the entire roll!

Third, decide if you are going to set a time limit. If you set a time limit you will need a timer. How much time will you give everyone? 5 minutes? 30 minutes?

Then it is up to your and your friends to be civil engineers and see who can build the tallest tower!  Good luck.  And please share your results with us on this blog.  Tell us what materials you used and your tower heights.

Civil engineers also build among other things, dams and bridges.   Can you make a bridge from paper strong enough to hold a golf ball?  Make a waterproof dam out of clay? Or what can you think of for your next competition?

Summer Fun- Boat Building Challenge

Check out this activity on our website: Test Your Boat Building Skills.  Gather the supplies and challenge your friends to make boats out of aluminum foil. Then see whose boat can hold the most marbles!  See how our Science Bug Investigators did by watching this video. After doing this experiment, post your high scores as comments!