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Picture of Design a Custom Yo-Yo
One of the most classic of all toys is the yo-yo, and what better way to spice up an old favorite than by designing your own? Designing toys is also a great way to get students excited about science and engineering, and it can encourage them to express creativity in new ways. (Note: Final product not intended for use by children)

If you’re a teacher, this project is a great vehicle by which to teach students some of the principles of science and design thinking. More specifically, designing a rocket can be a great way to push students to gain a better understanding of potential and kinetic energy. For a video on the topics of potential and kinetic energy within design thinking, click here. You can also find a complete lesson plan devoted to these topics, as well as instructional materials like learning objectives, test materials, and evaluation rubrics here

Step 1: Download Autodesk 123D Design

Picture of Download Autodesk 123D Design
Before you start, download and install Autodesk 123D Design (it’s totally free). 123D Design makes it easy to manipulate all kinds of shapes and create viable designs using numerous materials.  For a general tour of the interface and commands, see these short tutorials: