Campus News Banner


By George Lewis

Small UK Logo

Free and open to the public, the open house is geared to middle- and high-school students who are interested in math and science.

Small UK Logo

Jan. 25, 2001 – (Lexington, Ky.) – Entertaining and imaginative displays, demonstrations and contests will be featured at the University of Kentucky Engineers Day Open House on Saturday, Feb. 24, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the university’s engineering buildings. The theme of this year’s open house is “Where Imaginations Run Wild.”

Free and open to the public, the open house is geared to middle school and high school students who have an interest in math and science. Advance registration is not required for general activities; however, some contests require pre-registration.

The event will include lab tours, demonstrations by students and faculty and an array of interesting and educational contests. New contests include balloon-powered car design and catapult basketball.

The event will also feature the Rube Goldberg Design Contest in honor of the late cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who specialized in drawing whimsical machines with complex mechanisms to perform simple tasks. This year’s assignment is to design a machine that will ring a bell.

Engineers Day Open House is held annually in conjunction with National Engineers Week.

For more information, call Donn Hancher at (859) 257-4857 or visit the UK Engineers Day Web site at

The contest schedule follows:


·        Balloon-powered car: Design a vehicle to be powered by one or two officially supplied balloons. Contestants will include a distance competition and a single-elimination drag race tournament.

·        Egg drop: Design a container in which a raw egg can survive a 34-foot fall. A combination of lightest container and shortest travel time of those in which the egg remains intact will determine the winner.

·        Newspaper bridge: Build a model bridge using 10 newspapers and tape. The bridge that supports a Lexington telephone book wins.

·        Popsicle-stick bridge: Build a model bridge of Popsicle sticks and glue. The strongest bridge wins.

·        Pringle mailing: Mail one original-flavor Pringle without it breaking.

·        Rube Goldberg design: Build a device that rings a bell using provided specifications. The most creative and complicated device wins.

·        Volcano: Build a volcano using such materials as papier-mâché, clay and cardboard that spews lava of vinegar, baking soda and cornstarch. The volcano that spews lava closest to 18 inches from the outer edge of its base wins.


·        Artificial leg manipulation: Maneuver a simulated leg on a computer into a number of positions. The contestant who holds the leg in the positions with the fewest errors wins.

·        Barge loading: Use a four-by-four piece of aluminum foil to build a barge that will float while carrying pennies. The barge that can carry the most pennies wins.

·        Catapult basketball: Build a catapult out of any material that will launch a ball not more than one pound in mass and no more than four inches in diameter, through a hoop placed parallel with the floor.

·        Drop zone: Build a slow-falling device of paper, paper clips, staples, dental floss and clear adhesive tape that will hit a five-foot round target when dropped from 30 feet. The device that hits the target and has the longest fall wins.

·        Edible car: From edible foods, assemble a car that will roll down an incline. The car that travels farthest wins.

·        Design erector set: Assemble a structure using provided instructions and materials. The fastest-built set wins.

·        Human hair tensile strength: Contestants guess the tensile strength of their hair (strand must be at least four inches long).

·        Index-card bridge: Build a bridge that can hold at least two-and-a-half bricks using paper clips, tape, scissors and as few index cards as possible. A combination of the number of bricks and the index cards will determine the winner.

·        Model crane: Build a crane of provided drinking straws, tape and thread that supports an off-center load of 100 grams. A combination of the crane’s height and the distance from the base to the 100-gram weight will determine the winner.

·        Paper airplane: Make a paper airplane from 8½- by 11½-inch paper. The plane that flies the farthest wins.

·        Scavenger Hunt: Visit labs around the College of Engineering and ask questions about the research. The winner will have visited the most labs and answered the most questions correctly.

·        Tower building: Build a tower out of index cards. The tower that supports the most weight wins.

Campus News Home