Get Ready to Start Xploring!

Xplore Engineering offers 15 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.

Workshops Offered 

  • Build a Penny Boat – Will Yours Float? (new)
  • ZEUS | The most powerful laser! (new)
  • Neural Engineering: Talking and Listening to Nerves
  • How Much Will Your Bridge Hold?
  • Use the Force!
  • Nuclear and Radiation Are All Around Me
  • Emergency Room Simulation Game
  • Engineering a Cure for Diseases
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Up, Up and Away!   
  • Can You Walk on or Bounce a Fluid?
  • Driverless Cars
  • How do Computers Think?
  • eXtraordinary Materials

Workshop Descriptions

Pennies in water

Build a Penny Boat – Will Yours Float?

Learn about buoyancy and forces while you design, build, and test your own boat! How many pennies can yours hold? Through multiple builds, we will investigate what affects how boats float, and with the introduction of equations, you’ll be able to predict the maximum number of pennies your next boat can hold!  

hydrophobic photo


Why do Cheerios cluster together in milk? Can you make them repel each other? Build a soap-powered boat and learn the science behind liquid repellency. We will demonstrate how waterproof materials (like rain jackets) are made and how they repel water.

ZEUS laser

ZEUS | The most powerful laser!

From light sabers to the lasers that generate fusion, learn about laser engineering and plasma science at the new ZEUS laser facility. Students will learn how to direct laser light by using optical tools and will also build a spectroscope and learn how they are used to analyze the contents of the stars and plants.

Person with wires connected to arm

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.

xray of person striding

Use the Force!

Even the simplest everyday actions require your body to generate surprisingly large forces! Come explore how biomedical engineers capture data about how our bodies move and what forces they generate – and see how this information helps us to understand and treat different diseases and disabilities of the musculoskeletal system.

Xray of skeleton glowing

Nuclear and Radiation Are All Around Me

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

Emergency room from game

Emergency Room Simulation Game

Take part in emergency room scenarios, as doctors, nurses, and patients. Get hands-on experience improving processes for patient wait time and intake, as well as healthcare professional workload, physical set-ups, and more!

Scientist using pipette to extract liquid

Engineering a Cure for Diseases

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.

Kid throwing something in the air

Aerospace Engineering

Come explore the wide variety of aerospace engineering fields with us! This camp will give you a preview of many areas of aerospace engineering, from drones to rockets to modeling airplanes after birds. Learn how U-M students design and build aerospace systems and models, and join in on some hands-on projects.

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.

Fluid being poured

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 car

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.


How do Computers Think?

 In today’s digital age, computers have become an integral part of our daily lives, performing various tasks and connecting people across the globe. But have you ever stopped considering how computers can carry out these tasks? How do they make decisions and solve problems? In this workshop, we will delve into the inner workings of computers and explore their cognitive abilities. You will have the opportunity to try your hand at thinking like a computer.


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-temperature furnaces, cryogenic liquids, rare-earth magnets, and more – to see that everyday materials can be far from ordinary!