Think you can create a balloon car that can outrace all others? Or a cardboard chair that can carry your weight? These Challenge Card activities from the James Dyson Foundation will give you a list of tools you need to get started on these fun engineering challenges... but the creativity is up to you!
Engineering Challenge #1: Balloon car races
This engineering challenge is best completed in pairs or groups of three so you can race your balloon car against someone else's! Grab your siblings, or ask your parents or carers to get involved for maximum fun.
During this activity, you'll learn about Newton's law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. How does this power your balloon car? Can you think of any other examples of this type of movement?
Engineering Challenge #2: Marble Run
Can you make a marble run down an obstacle course in 60 seconds, no more, no less? This is what makes up the marble run challenge. You'll need to think creatively about using friction and gravity to your advantage, to make your marble run faster or slower down the obstacle course. Too much friction and your marble will stop, too much gravity and your marble will race to the finish line too quickly.
Considering that ice reduces friction to help a bobsled run faster, what are some materials that may help reduce friction in your marble run? Can you think of any materials that will increase friction? Perhaps you can use these elements during your engineering challenge.
Engineering Challenge #3: Cardboard Chair
If you tried to sit on an empty cardboard box, what would happen? You'd fall right through of course! Cardboard itself is not a terribly strong material, so you'll need to apply some smart-thinking engineering principles to the design of your cardboard chair in order to successfully complete this challenge.
In this video, Dyson engineers will show you some techniques you can use to strengthen your carboard. Keep in mind that your design will also affect the function of your chair; will you make a regular chair, or get creative in your design?