The Ulitimate Flight Exhibition


Iridescent Design Challenges

Select a Design Challenge for you and your family, and work together to create fun inventions–using the same process used in the real world–and with guidance and assistance from real scientists and engineers.


In partnership with Boeing, Iridescent and Boeing engineers are creating two dozen design challenges, based on real-world problems innovations and themes explored in Above and Beyond. Students and their families work together to complete design challenges and master key concepts inspired by the work of Boeing engineers based on real research or engineering work. Iridescent design challenges make use of very simple, low cost materials, and are intended to help students practice the essential 21st century skills of curiosity, creativity and persistence. Working through the Curiosity Machine — an online community of learning by doing platform — families and educators work toward solutions with the online support and guidance of mentoring scientists and engineers.

The Curiosity Machine offers an opportunity for engineers & scientists to connect with students, families and educators in a meaningful way.

Using this online program

  • Students and families watch a video about a research topic featuring a scientist or engineer.
  • An open-ended design challenge related to scientific topics covered in the video is presented.
  • Students build and upload videos or pictures of their inventions.
  • Real scientist and engineer mentors provide one-on-one feedback on student designs and help them understand key concepts and refine prototypes

Through a special grant from Boeing, Iridescent has created design challenges based on the educational themes explored in Above and Beyond.   Use them all!

NOTE: Check the Curiosity Machine site often as projects are updated and new design challenges are added.


Build a Glider

Design and build a paper bird that can glide at least six feet.

Build a Gravity Well

Build a gravity well to simulate a satellite’s orbit around Earth.

Build a Self-Powered Rocket

Use a simple chemical reaction to launch a small object.

Build a Stomp Rocket

Design a stomp rocket propelled by air pressure that can fly at least 10 feet in the air.

Design a Wind-Up Mars Rover

Build a Mars rover that can travel at least two feet from its starting point using elastic energy.

Disperse Seeds Far and Wide

Build a device that will carry a seed at least three feet from where it is dropped even when there is no wind.

Engineer a Balloon Helicopter

Build a balloon helicopter that can fly at least three feet from the ground.

Engineer a Landing Device

Build a device that will slow down your payload as it falls so it lands gently when dropped from eight feet high.

Engineer an Aeolipile

Build an air-powered spinning machine inspired by the Boeing CST-100.

The Gravity Challenge

Build three components for a Rube Goldberg space mission: a launch mechanism, an orbit transfer mechanism, and a gravity well that simulates the orbit.


Control a Bird’s Flight

Make a bird and then control its flight with attached strings.


Design a Powerful Bird Wing

Design and build a powerful bird wing that can spin you around in an office chair when you flap it.

Mechanical Engineering

Engineer a Space Tool

Design and build tools that astronauts can use to pick up objects when they travel to moons and planets.