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Fun STEM Projects Using Cali BBQ Packaging | San Diego Air & Space Museum

SDASM - STEM - Screenshot 2

A fun new sustainability program launched by the San Diego Air & Space Museum is helping to instill STEM lessons in our community using to-go packaging from places like Cali BBQ.

We’re partnering with Cali BBQ to bring opportunities for STEM to our communities,” said Sophie Wasserman, Education Director at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

SDASM - STEM - Screenshot 1

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It’s a broad modern curriculum meant to help prepare students for the future.

Sophie Wasserman visited Cali BBQ with San Diego Air and Space Museum educator Mia Trautz to announce the program with a video shot by Rising Tides Creative on location at our Spring Valley restaurant.

The STEM advocates showed how to use the materials that come with Cali BBQ takeout orders to create unique educational experiences for kids and adults alike.

Using our Tailgater family feast as an example, the San Diego educators explained that when you order a meal for takeout or delivery from Cali BBQ, you’re not just getting great food — you’re getting fun too.

The Tailgater Family Meal to Go from Cali BBQ

“That has everything you’re going to need to feed your whole family, and have an activity afterwards,” Sophie said about the Tailgater’s BBQ Feast.


To-Go Materials used in the STEM projects included:

  • Drink cups
  • Takeout bags
  • Food containers
  • Plastic Utensils


Takeout Packaging STEM Projects

Using a Cali BBQ takeout bag and small container, Sophie and Mia constructed a parachute that slowly floated down to the ground. They also made a catapult with a plastic cup and utensils.

Little Mila Walchef even jumped into the science scene and played with a makeshift toy car they also created, along with a functional sailboat from Cali BBQ packaging materials.

SDASM - STEM - Screenshot 2

“In our classroom, we used to stress sustainability with our children all the time,” said SDASM lead educator Mia Trautz. “To instill from a really young age that using a material as often as possible is so important to protect our Earth.”

In the coronavirus age of 2020, we’re all eating a lot more to-go food. That means more packaging piling up.

SDASM - STEM - Screenshot 3

It’s amazing what you can create when you think outside the takeout box and use the stuff available right in front of you.

“Since we’re already here and receiving our to-go materials, why not turn them into projects that you maybe haven’t tried before?” Mia said.

SDASM - STEM - Screenshot 5

In the fun SDASM “Engineering To-Go Menu” you can pick up from Cali BBQ (and online at there are plenty of ideas of what to do with packaging instead of instantly dumping it into the trash or recycling.

SDASM - Engineering Menu - Entrees Projects

“In our Engineering To-Go Menu, instead of throwing away your materials after you’re done with your dinner, look in here and see what sorts of things you could build with your leftover boxes, and cups, and silverware.”

After you’re done building your Cali BBQ To-Go Packaging creation at home, flip the SDASM pamphlet over for even more information on how you can introduce STEM into your own lives.

SDASM - STEM - Screenshot 4

“Right now, if you haven’t noticed, it’s hard to do hands-on things in the museum,” Sophie Wasserman said about coronavirus related closures and safety protocols in 2020.

“So we want to bring that out to our community and these authentic learning experiences into the places you’re already visiting.”


San Diego Air & Space Museum Online:


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