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During this trying time, UC San Diego Extension remains committed to helping you achieve your goals. In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have moved this summer’s Sally Ride Science Junior Academy workshops online. These online STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) workshops for students entering 4th-12th grade will be conducted through virtual class meetings using the Zoom conferencing system and the learning platform Canvas.

Design and Build a Walking Beast


It walks as if possessed by a mind of its own – no motor, no gas, no batteries, just a series of lurching dance steps along the boundaries of reality and imagination. It’s called a walking beast, and in this class, students will study, design and build this fascinating contraption and then set it in motion.

We will spend the early part of the week exploring the mechanics of these machines and building the basic parts. Then we begin the assembly. Finally, we will decorate the beast and set it loose with the help of a leaf blower. Concepts we will cover include engineering, wind power, gravity, frictional rotation and structural integrity. Together we will explore how artistic creativity can drive scientific design and vice versa.

What You Will Learn

  • Gain an understanding of how a walking beast works
  • Receive safety training
  • Learn about rotational mechanics, gear ratios and how to assemble the beast’s frame
  • Learn about conservation of energy and how to develop a power source
  • Get a chance to incorporate artistic flair into the engineering design process
  • Assemble a walking beast and then test and showcase it

Return to the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy website here.

Course Number: WKSP-90032
Credit: 0.00 unit(s)