Designing Wild Weather Solutions – Youth Blog

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’re especially grateful for our community of young innovators and problem-solvers who continue to inspire our development! At NCAR’s Super Science Saturday, we invited kids and their families to build different towers that stood up to simulated extreme weather conditions, including wind, snow, and water. Our team loved seeing so many different wild weather designs and we’re happy to present reflections from some of our winning youth.






Wind Design Challenge Winner – Christian, a local 5th grader, who loves Lego Robotics, space, skiing, tennis, technology and bowling.

Favorite wild weather event moments?

It was interesting because we had to use specific materials for each station.  Almost all of the designs worked and if given more time, I would like to have built them even bigger.

Lessons learned from other event stations?

It was my first time at this event, there were many wonderful exhibits.  

Food for Thought for future wild weather designs?

I would design a “Cane”, which is a small hurricane that is not effective, just enough to rip off a house’s roofs and knock down trees.  I would test it to make different categories of strength and would use a small wind tunnel with salt water inside. I would put a small wind vain to see the direction of the wind.


Snow Design Challenge Winner – Parth, a local 6th grader, who loves watercolor painting, swimming, robotics, soccer, and basketball.

I recently participated in Wild Weather Engineering Challenge. We made designs and tested them out to see how they would hold against different weather conditions. What I liked the most was that they didn’t say don’t do this or don’t do that, they gave you materials and told us our goal and that’s it we make whatever we want. One thing that helped me was that in one of my previous wild weather events I failed, but the failure helped me learn, build a better base, work with another player.

If I was to build another structure and then make it go against another natural disaster I would probably build one for an earthquake, in reality. Mexico has had a huge 8.5 earthquake and we keep getting such earthquakes at different places on earth. So to start, I would assemble a team that is untreated on the topic. first I’d think of a plan, then make a small model, test it on a small version of the disaster i.e. shake the table, then tinker it to make it work, test it on a large scale one (not an actual earthquake) and if it fails then we try again from scratch with a whole new ideas.

I learned a lot from this experience and if I could do it again then I definitely would. You should too.

Wind Design Challenge Winners – Matteus, a local 4th grader, and Tobias, a local 7th grader. Matteus loves basketball, running, skiing, and mountain biking. Tobias loves Legos, Magic the gathering, skiing, mountain biking.

Favorite wilde weather event moments?

It was fun because you had to make it not only the tallest but also to be able to withstand wind – Matteus. I liked the opportunity to build something with Legos that could actually withstand force – Tobias

Lessons learned from other event stations?

What helped was a pre-existing knowledge of how to build Lego bricks other than just up and down – Tobias. This was my first wild weather station – Matteus.

Food for Thought for future wild weather designs?

I would build a really strong tall tower and pour a big bucket of water beside it to simulate a tsunami – Matteus. I would test an earthquake a by building a strong structure out of Legos, and then shaking the table that it was on – Tobias.