Paper Engineering

Discover the kind of engineering involved in designing pop-ups!

Guess what’s going to pop up?

One of the most ambitious and far-reaching concepts now being explored by the U.S. Department of Defense and other agencies developing new methods in espionage is the micro-aerial vehicle, or MAV—die-cut remote-control robots that fold flat, pop up, and can be assembled. Some of the flying MAVs resemble birds and insects so closely that they can hang out in plain sight, doing surveillance with minimal potential for detection. This activity lets you discover the kind of engineering involved in designing pop-ups—or party decorations!

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Grab a grown-up to help supervise with the use of scissors.


Through simple geometry, your gluing and cutting shaped a 2-D bag into a three-dimensional (3-D) form. Your bags should expand to form a 3-D star!

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