Echo Base Bobsleds

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The goal of this activity is to build a miniature bobsled that is either the fastest or the slowest. Learners use recycled materials to design, build, and test their bobsled on a bobsled track. This activity is a fun way for learners to get a first-hand experience of the design process that scientists and engineers undergo by conceptualizing the problem, designing and testing a prototype, and making modifications as necessary to optimize the solution. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Track (you could make a track out of house gutter, or you could go to a playground and test your bobsled on a slide)
  • Plastic pipette trays (or soap dishes)
  • Strips of fabric
  • Duct-tape covered, dead AA batteries (you could use working AA batteries, too, but this is a good way to use dead batteries)
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Plastic straws
  • Binder clips


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
    • Technology
      • Transportation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
      • Energy and Power
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Acceleration
      • Center of Gravity
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Sports and Exercise
  • Toys
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • , Museum of Science, Boston, 2007

Funding Source:

  • The Gordon Foundation