Orange Wrecking Ball Engineering Challenge

If your kids love engineering, they will love this fun engineering challenge that combines engineering in two ways, structural engineering and demolition engineering. In orange wrecking ball engineering challenge, I challenged my kids to come up with a system where an orange could knock some plastic cups over without them throwing it or rolling it. My kids loved this challenge and spent quite some time putting together this fun little experiment. There are so many different ways to accomplish this mission, it’s the perfect STEM activity for a wide variety of grades. Make older kids calculate the trajectory of the orange using math!


Orange Wrecking Ball Engineering Challenge

Build your own wrecking ball using household supplies!

  • Plastic cups
  • Tall cups or other heavy object
  • Orange
  • String
  • Masking tape or duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Straws

Use whatever materials you have lying around the house to make this wrecking ball. Part of the challenge is using weird ingredients.

I gave my kids a bunch of random supplies, then told them they had to create a wrecking ball that would knock the cups over.

They deliberated for several minutes before coming up with this design.

The trickiest part was weighing down the cups enough to make sure the orange could swing without knocking over the cups holding it in place. The kids filled the blue cups with water to add extra weight to the wrecking ball.

The cups were stacked up, then it was time to test!

After swinging the orange back, it smacked straight into the cups, knocking them over. At that low level, it mainly pushed them over by pushing them off the table altogether, but swung from a different angle and slightly higher the orange was able to knock them completely over.

The kids decided that next time, they needed to make the suspension for the orange higher.



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