Engineering design challenge: Ice cube cooler

Engineers and geoscientists play an important part in protecting the public, including designing life-saving medical equipment. While we might use coolers to keep our water cold at a soccer game, they have lots of applications, including keeping medicine safe as it’s delivered to remote villages. Doctors without Borders use specially designed coolers to keep their vaccines at the right temperature until they can be given to patients.

Your mission

Create a cooler that will keep an ice cube inside frozen longer than one outside of the cooler. This will demonstrate if your cooler is able to keep items cold.


You should use objects you can find around the house to create your cooler (some examples are below).

We recommend that you watch to see how long the ice cube outside of the cooler takes to melt, and when it’s melted, open up your cooler and see how big your ice cube still is. 

Example materials

You can use these or any other materials you find around your house to work with:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Styrofoam
  • Cardboard
  • Wax Paper
  • Newspaper
  • Tape
  • Recycling

Share some pictures of your creation online using the #NEM2021 or #NEGM2021 hashtag!