Thresher Shark Toy

A toy for 4th graders | Product Design

About the Project

For my Design Nature class at Olin College, we were tasks with the challenge to design a toy for 4th graders in 7 weeks that was bio-inspired by a unique animal behavior. For our project we chose a Thresher Shark. A Thresher Shark is a unique type of shark because it uses its tail to stun its prey rather than eating the fish immediately and we ultimately felt that this could be a unique way to educate 4th graders about how different shark eating behaviors.

The Play Experience

The objective of the game is for you to knock down as many fish of the same color as you using your shark tail. Two sharks are positioned on a track and move forward automatically. When you push a button the shark's tail whips. There are several two types of fish surrounding the sharks on the track: orange and blue. Whoever knocked down the most fish in three laps wins. Players would group up in teams of two and would compete in a series of two rounds. Whichever team had the highest cumulative score with the most fish knocked down wins.

Learning Outcomes

Some of the design techniques we learned in this class revolved about learning how to create design goals, prototyping with solidworks, creating cardboard sketch models and product iteration. As part of our final at the end of the semester, 4th graders from Hillcrest Elementary School came in to play and critique our toys.

Play Experience



These are some of our CAD designs and prototype evolution.