February Theme: Engineering Month


February Theme: Engineering Month

By Adventure Science Center

This month, explore all things engineering as we uncover the science of coding, mechanics, medical engineering, and more!

Check out a few of the activities we're facilitating this month and explore the science behind it all.

Themed programming will take place:

  • Every day in the i2 Makerspace
  • Every Monday at 9:30 am in the Early Explorer Storytime in Eureka Theatre
  • Every day in Live Science in Eureka Theatre
  • Optional theme build in Tinkering Garage
  • Floor cart activities on the floor throughout the month
  • With community partners for Engineering Week (February 18-24)

Activities in the i2 Makerspace

  • February 3-5: Extend-o Grabbers
  • February 10-12: Articulated Dragon Bracelets for Chinese New Year
  • February 17-19: Zip-line Racers
  • February 24-26: Extend-o Grabbers

Engineering Week Activities

  • Sunday, February 18 
    • 9:00 am to 12:00 pm 
    • Chuck Schlemm, NASA Ambassador & retired engineer: Explore a display of models and learn about the engineering it takes to get humans, satellites, and other equipment to (and from) space. 
    • Vanderbilt Mechanical Engineering: A professor of mechanical engineering will demonstrate his “soft robotic” technologies and talk about how soft robotics can be applied to the medical industry, especially surgery.
    • 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm 
    • Vanderbilt Robotics: Students from Vanderbilt will have their robots on display and will talk about how robotics are used in all types of engineering fields.
    • Vanderbilt Mechanical Engineering: Ph.D. candidates and professors of mechanical engineering will facilitate IR (Infrared) imaging technologies and optics demonstrations.
  • Saturday, February 24
    • Engineered for Destruction (All Day)
    • Witness all-day robot battles at the science center and learn about the building and programming of various robotic tech.

Early Explorer Storytime Books and Activities

  • February 5: How Do You Lift a Lion?
    • Early Explorers will build a simple machine and experiment to see how they can balance their lion on their see-saw.
  • February 12: When Sparks Fly: The True Story of Robert Goddard,  the Father of US Rocketry
    • Early Explorers will make model rockets from tubes, tin foil, and streamers. They will attach their rockets to a stick so it can fly through the air.
  • February 19: How Do Bridges Not Fall Down?
    • Early Explorers will learn about architectural engineering by building a spiral plate marble track. Explorers can experiment with how many spirals their structure has to see how it affects the timing of their track.
  • February 36: Up & Down: The Adventures of John Jeffries, First American to Fly
    • Early Explorers will make a 3D hot air balloon model that will spin on it's way down to Earth's surface.

Time: Every Monday at 9:30 am
Location: Eureka Theatre on the second floor
Ages: Pre-K (Kids Under Five)
Follow us on Instagram for a sneak peek at each week's story and associated activity.

Floor Cart Activities and Demonstrations

Mechanical Engineering - DIY Catapults

Visitors will design and build their own catapult while learning about the simple machines that mechanical engineers use to design structures and equipment. 

Catapults were invented around 400 BCE and are considered one of the major engineering feats of the time. The catapult was a key weapon for warfare through medieval times.

There are several distinguishing parts of a catapult: a bucket, payload, arm, base/frame, restraining rope, and counterweight. These features make it possible for energy to be stored and then suddenly released during battle. 

A catapult is an example of a lever which is a type of simple machine. There is a fulcrum, effort point, and load. Create your own catapult and experiment with this simple machine.

Aerospace Engineering - Design, Build, Test 

Visitors will design, build, and test a satellite prototype while learning about the engineering process that aerospace engineers follow to create functioning crafts. Guests will choose which instruments will go on their satellite depending on the function of each mission.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for the testing of equipment before it is launched into space. The shake test is used to determine how well the structure will hold up in a moment of extreme stress. Alternatively, the spin test is used to ensure greater longevity as electrified propulsion systems are developed since they may be subjected to higher rotational speeds. Visitors will undergo these tests to measure the effectiveness of their prototype.

Computer Engineering - mBot Robots 

Visitors will learn the basics of block coding to send commands to mBots – educational robots used to teach the foundations of coding and programming. Guests will learn how computer engineers design the technologies we use every day. 

The first concept of block coding was developed in 2003 when MIT created a basic computer language called Scratch. This form of coding was developed to teach children how to program. Block coding features text-based computer commands that are grouped in pre-programmed blocks that the user can drag and drop to build programs like animations and games. This type of programming makes coding accessible to anyone who wants to learn. The field of computer engineering is rapidly evolving and the number of computer engineering graduates is increasing each year. 

Electrical Engineering - Snap Circuits 

Visitors will explore the field of electrical engineering through snap circuits. Guests will get an introduction to electrical engineering by using building components with snaps to assemble electronic circuits on a simple “rows-and-columns” base grid. 

In an electrical circuit, electrons come out of the power source, travel along conductors, go through a load to perform work, and return to the source. Snap connectors will line up along the circuit path to perform work such as lighting up LEDs, sounding off noisemakers, and making a fan spin.

Materials Engineering - Microscope Exploration 

Visitors will observe everyday objects through a microscope to get a better understanding of the materials used to manufacture goods. A microscope filters details and amplifies features that are unseen by the naked eye. 

Material engineers seek to understand the fundamental physical origins of material behavior to optimize properties of existing materials through structure modification and processing, design and invent new and better materials, and understand why some materials unexpectedly fail. These engineers are needed in ALL fields of work because everything is made out of some kind of material.

Adventure Science Center is open:

Monday, Thursday, Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Join us this month for science fun for all ages!

Special thanks to our Engineering Month sponsors:




©2024 Adventure Science Center