Kinetic Sculpture

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In this design challenge activity, learners build a tower that’s at least 12 inches high with two or more parts that move (spin, sway, or flap) in the wind. This art meets construction activity allows learners to think about design challenges while creating a kinetic sculpture (a sculpture that moves). This is an excellent follow-up activity to "High Rise" from the same source.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • Electric fan
  • Strips of colored paper or fabric
  • Rulers
  • Pens or markers
  • Cardboard
  • Metal washers (various sizes)
  • Markers
  • Ping—Pong balls
  • Poster putty
  • Paper cups (various sizes)
  • Scissors
  • Wooden skewers
  • String
  • Tape (duct or masking)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Architectural Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
    • Technology
      • Construction
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Rotation Motion
      • Center of Gravity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Design Squad Nation


Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 0810996