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BCS STEAM FAIR 2018: Fair Activities & Resources

Welcome to the 4th annual Berkeley Carroll STEAM Fair!

Check out this year's activities below, as well as related resources in our libraries and online!


Participants will design and construct their very own miniature car, which they will be able to race on a prefabricated race track. They will be challenged to bring their "creativity, cleverness and ingenuity" as they problem solve. This activity will be run by Nerdy Derby. (See photo to right, courtesy of Nerdy Derby)

To learn more about Nerdy Derby, please visit the company's FacebookTwitter or Vimeo pages.

Architecture & Arches

Explore, design, and build arches or create your own architectural wonder with input from professional architects.

The Wharncliffe Viaduct, Hanwell, Middlesex, 1838. Photography. Britannica Image Quest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016. 

Build a Box

Think like an engineer and build an apparatus that scientists can use to solve real world problems! You will step into the role of an engineer to design and build a gel electrophoresis box to separate dyes in a powdered drink. Gel electrophoresis is a laboratory method used to separate mixtures of DNA, RNA, or proteins according to molecular size.

Gel Electrophoresis. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016. 

Building and Construction Challenge

A building challenge station using only cups, cubes, and craft sticks.

Effect of Pressure on Styrofoam Cup... Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.


Learn programming using Scratch or Hopscotch.

Apple iPhone 3Gs 3G smartphone with apps displayed on the screen isolated with clipping path on gray background. Photo. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 30 Jan 2015.


Design and construct structures made either with dowels and rubber bands or toothpicks and marshmallows.

Marshmallows. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

DNA Extraction

Come be a lab technician and learn how to easily extract strawberry DNA. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a complex molecule found in all living organisms.

DNA. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

Below are the books and ebooks in the BCS collection that are related to this activity.

Domino Effect

More powerful thank you think! The slim shape of dominoes, lined up, contain potential energy, and fall beautifully. Come experiment with setting them up, varying the distances, and knocking them down! How does the distance affect the speed?

Domino Effect: Falling in Succession in S, Curve Pattern. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

Fibonacci Art

Use Fibonacci numbers to create art in the style of Piet Mondrian and add music to figure out the long and short beats in music.

Fibonacci numbers in a pinecone. Photography. Encyclopedia Brittanica Image Quest. Web. 10 February 2017.

Floating a Boat

Problem solve how to keep a boat made of a milk carton afloat.

Paper boats in plastic tub. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 30 Jan 2015.

Geometric Art

Come construct beautiful geometric solids from paper straws and wire. These pieces of art contain polygons and become polyhedra!

Modern Art. Photograph. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 31 Aug 2017.


Learn about the process of fermentation while creating a traditional side dish made of vegetables.

Kimchi. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.


Learn basic knitting while gaining an appreciation for the art, science and math involved.



Beginnings of piece of knitting on pair of knitting needles. Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 10 Feb 2017.

FEATURED ACTIVITY: Constructing a Geometric Sculpture

Did you know math is often applied to art and design? Mathematician/sculptor and co-founder of New York’s Math Museum George Hart will work with students of all ages to assemble a wooden geometric sculpture (like the ones above) and explain the steps and underlying geometric ideas. The sculpture will be displayed on campus to illustrate the beauty of mathematics.

Image retrieved from


Kokedama is a Japanese art form that produces not only a living planter but a beautiful display piece. We will make moss balls by taking a root ball of a plant and suspending it in a mud ball, then wrapping it in green moss.

Creating a hanging basket. Photograph. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

Magnetic Slime

Come make crazy creations at the magnetic slime station! Make the slime dance with magnet wands and learn how to make your own magnetic slime at home. Great for all ages.

Slime. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 31 Aug 2017.

Marble Run Challenge

Build a network of tracks for a marble to complete a variety of tasks.

Marbles. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

Miles of Tiles

Enter the Tessellation Station to create designs using unusually shaped tiling patterns. Exhibit from National Museum of Mathematics.

Uniform tiling pattern. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Brittannica, 25 May 2016.

Origami & Modular Paper Sculpture

Perfect the ancient art of folding paper or create modular paper structure from cut paper.

Origami decorations. Photograph. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.


Robotic enthusiasts introduce you to Ozobot, the robot. Learn how to give commands using the color code language of the Ozobots. Curious? Come let us know you how it is done.

Ozobot. Photograph. Mauricio Pesce, Flikr. Retrived from

PancakeBot Demonstration

The PancakeBot is the world's first food printer capable of printing pancakes by automatically dispensing batter directly onto a griddle. Kids can choose their own pancake designs (animals, places, characters)!

Pancake. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016. 

Paper Airplanes

Let your engineering skills take off with this long-time favorite. Beginners can practice uilbding and flying basic planes, while more advanced flyers can take on challenges such as "Hit the Spot" or "Spin the Plane."

Boy playing with a paper plane. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

Pendulum Art

Did you ever wonder how the forces of motion and gravity connect to art? Come check out Pendulum Art. Multiple pendulums filled with a variety of paint colors are set up for your play. Change the length of the string, the speed of the pendulum, and/or the direction of the pendulum to see the impact on your art. Add in some stenciled animals and watercolors to create your final masterpiece.

Simple Pendulum. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.


Learn different ways to create pickles and watch osmosis in action.

Pickles. Photograph. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

Pixel Art with Perler Beads

From Seurat to Sega, images comprised of dots of color have wowed the art and gaming worlds. Come create your own pixel art using perler beads. Follow a pattern or design your own!


perler beads

Plastic Beads 2. Photography. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 10 February 2017.

Puzzle Palace

Care to stop by and try your hand at a logic puzzle? Eighth grade puzzle connoisseurs will help you solve them.

Hispanic boy scratching head in front of blackboard. Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 20 Feb 2015.


Make your own smoothies using only your foot power. Hop on a bike and pedal to convert energy into delicious smoothies! 

Image retrieved from

PVC Launcher

Construct your own PVC marshmallow launcher!

Polyvinyl Chloride Pip Fittings PVS. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

Rapid Prototyping Challenge

Ready for a rapid design challenge? Using the BC Design Process- think, plan, do, review- you will design removable wings that hold a marker for small robotic bees. Test your design by programming the bee to do a one line drawing. Come back later to help color in the shapes created as the day goes on. We will create a large mural with all the on line drawings to display in the LS lobby.

Flying insect explorer robot. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.


Come to our new Beta Lab to learn how our Robotics team is preparing for their next competition.

Image retrieved from

Rube Goldberg Machine

Visit our Beta Lab to learn from engineering students as they build and explain the concepts and basics of simple machines and energy transfers.

SPRING IN USE, assorted springs. Photograph. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

Sculptures of Paper and Light

Using different types of paper, design and create sculptures and add alight to create an illuminating effect.

Paper. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

Shoe Design

Participate in the creation of your own custom sneakers- research and development, visual design, and prototyping. 

A pair of red sneakers. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

Spin Art & Marbleizing Paper

What can you do to make paper more wonderful? Come find out. We'll be marbling, dipping, and spinning color onto paper of various weights and sizes. This is science, creating art. Perhaps you will leave with some wrapping paper, a few pieces of stationary, or a unique piece of art of display on your wall.

Newton's Color Disk Moderate Spin, Colors Blurred & Mostly Visible. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.


Come use your creative size to make a tabletop garden out of plants, colored moss and bright stones.

Green plants and butterfly in glass terrarium. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 May 2016.

Two-Dimensional Nim

Challenge a partner to play a variation on the age-old game of strategy.


Nim QC. Photography. Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia. 9 February 2009. CC BY-SA 3.0.

Water Xylophone

Have fun exploring musical pitches by filling beakers with water to create a chromatic scale. In the process, play some of your favorite melodies with the flick of a mallet.


water xylophone

Milk bottle xylophone consisting of seven bottles of varying amounts of coloured water and a metal spoon. Photography. Encyclopedia Brittanica Image Quest. Web. 10 February 2017.

Wind Tunnel Challenge

Build and fly parachutes in a wind tunnel. 

Parachute test for Orion spacecraft, 2014. Photograph. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopedia Britannica, 31 Aug 2017.