Engineer an Aeolipile

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In this engineering design challenge, learners build an air-powered spinning machine. As learners work their way through the design process, they can upload descriptions and images of their plans, designs, and testing process. If learners register, they can submit their work for mentor feedback, and a mentor will respond with comments and suggestions.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • ping pong ball
  • stick
  • sharpened pencil
  • drinking straws
  • milkshake straw
  • recycled cardboard
  • scissors


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Newton's Laws
    • States of Matter
      • Gases

Informal Categories

  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Iridescent


  • All rights reserved, Iridescent,