Home Store Project Ideas Project Guide Ask An Expert Blog Careers Teachers Parents Students

Exploring Engineering with Hands-on Building Systems

Born on May 15, 1863: Frank Hornby, an inventor whose "toys" included Meccano, an engineering construction set of nuts, bolts, and strips of sheet metal. Hornby first devised the system for his children. When he moved on to mass produce Meccano, he marketed the product as "Mechanics Made Easy." Meccano sets, introduced for sale in 1902, resemble Erector sets, and today Meccano owns the Erector brand.

Whether beams and bolts or brick-based, toy building systems give kids (and tinkerers of all ages!) the chance to explore engineering, mechanics, and, today, even robotics. In the "Stair Master: Build an All-Terrain Robot" robotics Project Idea, students use LEGO® Mindstorms® to experiment with different kinds of wheel alternatives. Not every wheel suits every need. Identifying the challenge or problem is an important step in the engineering design process!

What does it take to build a successful all-terrain robot? The best way to find out and to test your theory about what will work is to put it to the test!


Making Science Connections

Our "today in Science History" posts make students, teachers, and parents aware of important discoveries and scientists in history and help connect science history to hands-on K-12 science exploration that students (and families) can do today. To follow along, join us at Facebook or at Google+. These frequent science history tidbits can be great for class, dinner, or car-ride discussion!

Featured Science Kit for Summer Science Fun from the Science Buddies Store

Science Buddies Science Activities

A headline today from New Scientist asks what the sun will look like as a planetary nebula when it begins to die--in about 5 billion years. Questions that involve billions of years from now can be mind-boggling, but considering what...

I don't know what was being talked about, but as I cleaned up in the kitchen, I heard a conversation with an 8-year old that resulted in questions about water and electricity and whether or not water can conduct electricity....

If you're ready to tackle something related to energy, power, and the environment but want to push the envelope a bit farther than the cool (but maybe not quite cutting-edge-enough-for-you and just a bit ubiquitous) Veggie-Powered Batteries, pull on your...



Follow our Facebook page


You may print and distribute up to 200 copies of this document annually, at no charge, for personal and classroom educational use. When printing this document, you may NOT modify it in any way. For any other use, please contact Science Buddies.