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This project details the client meetings, design process, fabrication details, and test analysis of a toy designed to teach 3-16-month old infants the principle of cause and effect. This project was completed by a team of first year engineering students. After meeting with the client at the Bombeck Family Learning Center, the design team revised an original problem statement from "create a toy to teach cause and effect" to "create a product to teach cause and effect in a simple and clear way." Based on the problem statement, the team proposed several different designs, focusing on key aspects such as motion and noise. Drawing from these, the final design was a rectangular cuboid constructed out of clear, acrylic plastic. The design included a rubber edge guard and multiple interior channels containing freely-moving washers. The prototype design was tested according to varying criteria, including practical concerns (e.g. ease of cleaning), safety, and how well the infants understood the cause and effect demonstrated by the toy. Several factors influenced the testing of the toy and detailed results and observations were recorded.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project

Primary Advisor

Elizabeth S. Hart

Primary Advisor's Department

Chemical and Materials Engineering


Stander Symposium poster


This poster reflects research conducted as part of course project designed to give students experience in the research process.

Research exercise: Infant Cause and Effect Toy for Bombeck Family Learning Center