Get Ready to Start Xploring!

Xplore Engineering offers 17 workshops in different engineering disciplines; each workshop is 90 minutes long. Every family will have the opportunity to participate in 3 workshops each day. No guarantees can be made to ensure enrollment in a particular workshop as registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Workshop Index 

  • Designing a Siege-Ready Catapult
  • Pickin’ Up Good Vibrations
  • Digital to Physical Objects 
  • Neural Engineering: Talking & Listening to Nerves
  • How Much will Your Bridge Hold?
  • A Plastic’s Journey 
  • Wireless Communications Using Lasers 
  • Nuclear and Radiation are all around me 
  • The Manufacturing Process Challenge
  • Engineering a Cure for Cancer
  • Quadcopter Quidditch
  • Up, Up and Away!   
  • Cracking Bones
  • Can You Walk on or Bounce a Fluid?
  • Driverless Cars
  • A Computer’s Heart
  • eXtraordinary Materials

Workshop Descriptions

Designing a Siege-Ready Catapult

Test your engineering skills by designing and building a catapult that can knock down even the strongest and sturdiest castles in the kingdom! Learn about design constraints and building techniques as you construct and use your catapult to knock down the castle walls. Through multiple builds and rebuilds design a catapult strong enough to bring down any castle.

Pickin’ Up Good Vibrations

What exactly is sound? How does it relate to vibrations we can feel and how do devices like speakers actually work? Join the Michigan Acoustics group and learn about the science of sound through a serious of hands-on demos and hear first-hand how engineers use sound to solve a variety of real-world problems!

Digital to Physical Objects

Join us behind-the-scenes in the Duderstadt Center’s Fabrication Studio to learn the basics in design and translating from digital to a physical object. Get hands-on experience with digital fabrication technology to create the perfect take away item!

Neural Engineering: Talking & Listening to Nerves

Your nervous system is as fast as lightning! Accidentally touch a hot stove? Before you even realize it, you’ve pulled your hand away. Learn how sensations are turned into feelings and ideas into actions. We’ll use insects to teach you how to engineer the nervous system and show you how neuroscience can move robotic arms with brainpower to help paralyzed people walk. 

Girl testing her popsicle stick bridge strength

How Much will Your Bridge Hold?

Bridges are some of the biggest, coolest structures we use every day. And now, you can design and build your own. You’ll learn how engineers create safe, strong bridges and see how your own design stacks up in the bridge strength competition.

A Plastic’s Journey

Did you know that your polyester T-shirt and your pop bottle are made out of the same material? They’re both made of the same polymer! Aided by goo and marshmallow fluff, we will teach you all about polymers and one of their largest applications, plastics! We discuss the importance of recycling and the process of remanufacturing plastic bottles into new items.

Wireless Communications Using Lasers

How do we send information to satellites or across the ocean to other continents?  Using optics (light) we will assemble a laser communicator and learn how to transfer information through wireless technologies. Optics uses different forms of light to transfer information and communicate with each other. Everyday examples include cell phones, Bluetooth, and the internet

Nuclear is all around me

What is nuclear engineering and radiological sciences and how do they affect our every day lives. Learn how nuclear energy works and how radiation is used to benefit our lives.

Kid works with jolly ranchers in the manufacturing process workshop

The Manufacturing Process Challenge

You’ll work with a team to invent a process for wrapping candy and getting it to its final destination, then go head-to-head with other teams to see whose process is the fastest and best quality. Along the way, you’ll learn all about the fundamentals of industrial operations engineering including continuous improvement, and quality control.

Engineering a Cure for Cancer

Engineers design technology and biologists explore cancer – put them together and you’re one step closer to a cure! Join the Biointerfaces Institute to learn how different labs are using engineering to understand cancer and find treatments. Various labs will host interactive hands-on activities for you to touch and explore.

Quadcopter Quidditch

Quadcopter’s range in size from airplanes to a bumblebee. These drones are used for everything from inspecting Mt. Rushmore to secret military missions. Learn how to fly a small quadcopter, practice flying through hoops on our agility course, then test your skills in a team game of quadcopter quidditch.  

kid working on rocket in rocket workshop

Up, Up and Away!

Build and launch your own rocket and launching system as you learn about the principles that power these amazing machines. You’ll even compete with other students to see whose rocket goes the furthest.

kid working in the cracking bones workshop

Cracking Bones

Learn about the types of cells and proteins found in bones and their roles in bone strength. We’ll compress and bend bones under different conditions to discover how strong bones are, what can affect their strength, and how to strengthen your own!

Can You Walk on or Bounce a Fluid?

Can you walk across a pool full of fluid? You’ll learn how as you discover viscosity, shear, flow, and many other weird and fascinating properties of everyday fluids. We’ll test your ability to walk across a pool of Newtonian fluid.

Driverless Cars

Cars are getting smarter all the time, even smart enough to drive themselves! Learn how cars use sensors, programming logic, and controls. Next, you’ll incorporate them all into a semi-autonomous vehicle to race through a maze.

A Computer’s Heart

Computers are everywhere! They surround us and connect the world together! How do computers play games? How does a file appear on your screen? Explore a  computer’s hardware and processors, and learn how the software uses these modern marvels to create cool applications and artificial intelligence!

eXtraordinary Materials

Have you ever seen an ordinary item do something totally unexpected?  In the world of materials, we are always finding new ways to make substances with surprising properties.  In this workshop, you will use real research tools – high magnification microscopes, cryogenic substances, rare earth magnets, and more – to see that everyday materials can be far from ordinary!