DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY   (Be sure to open the document first with Google Docs before using it.)

VIDEO: The Long Haul  (Also available at the bottom of this page.)


  • Students’ primary task in this activity is to design a container that will keep an ice core from melting over time AND to do so while spending the least amount of money
  • Participants will create an expense sheet including materials and the calculations of time spent in the design process
  • Participants will “purchase” all materials used in their designs from the Engineer’s Warehouse staffed by the teacher, classroom aide or volunteer.

Teacher Notes:

This activity can be used to introduce “Engineering Practices,” including the necessity that engineers budget for resources and time used in their design process. The Long Haul is also effective as either an introduction or culmination to a unit of study on energy transfer.


 Key Concepts:




Transfer of Energy

Ice cores have significant scientific value and are recovered from the most extreme environments on Earth including Greenland and Antarctica. It is essential that they travel from the field to the National Ice Core Laboratory without losing mass.

Target Grade Levels:


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