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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 learn how to 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


Learn how to design and build a wind-powered walking contraption.

  • 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 it.

Return to the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy website here.

Note: Upon successful enrollment of a section, students will receive a confirmation email from our Student Services team. This email will include a link to an authorization form that is required to be completed within 72-hours of enrollment. 

In response to COVID-19 health guidelines, we have restructured our in-person Junior Academy workshops as online courses. Contact us at if you have questions.

Course Number: ENG-90020
Credit: 1.50 unit(s)