SNEAKY SUMMER SMARTS

Episode number 3 You'll be Blown away by this one

When ethan and Ayana were little folk, we knew engineering was in their future. When a hurricane came through town, it felled 4 trees in our yard, yet Ethan and Ayana’s little Teepee reamained unscathed. 

wind power for elementary school students example

This might have you thinking “How is that even possible?” Well, not to say these young innovators are not brilliant (because they are) but there is in fact another reason. It has to do with wind load and the object being blown by the wind. 

Let’s do an experiment. 

Take these two characters, the big bulky duck and the daitnth little gal. You may think because the duck is bigger and seems stronger, he wouldn’t get knocked over in the wind. Wrong. 

wind power for elementary school students example

Because he is wider and taller, more wind will hit him and push him. Little gal is so small, she sort of slips right through the wind. Now if you have already learned about area, you can actually calculate the area of all of the shapes that make up each character, add then and prove that the duck has way more surface area than the gal. 

(To calculate the total surface area of the duck you would need to do some fancy work, dividing the head into a cirle and a triangle and the body into a 1/2 circle and a rectangle)

Anyway, if you still don’t believe us, what this video

Episode number two: Don't let the Heat Weigh You Down

study of weight and balance with 3Dux/design building and modeling sets

 It’s a hot and humid summer; the perfect time to hang out inside to beat the heat. Why not give the kiddies something smart to noodle on. Challenge your kids to experiment with weight and balance. We created simple cardboard structures out of 5x10 inch rectangles (and some 2.5x10 and smaller pieces). Kids tested different configurations and explored the relative stability of their design by adding weights. We started with cars in a “parking garage” and furniture in a 2 story house. 

Then we did a more controlled study using water bottles and the same five pieces of cardboard in different configurations

weight distribution experiment for preschool and primary school students

 The students noted that support directly under the weight resulted in a more sturdy structure. We discussed how that might relate to buildings, bridges and other engineering designs we see out in the real world.

using distribution of structure to study weight and material engineering in elementary school k8 studentspracticing with mass and weight for elementary school children with cardboard construction But no experiment is validated without an in vivo aspect to the study. So Kitty volunteered to be the guinea pig (with some treats as a reward) and hopped on the structure. We found that the structure was in fact quite sturdy but we also discovered two possible conclusions

a. Kitty is not good at balancing
b. We need a wider base to support a full sized cat.

IMG_2878 from Marci klein on Vimeo.

 

Episode number one: The Tiny House Challenge

learning geometry STEM STEAM and engineering for kids with architecture and building kits

challenge- (This may be adapted for children from 4 years all the way up through middle school) Design and build a sustainable tiny home for a family of 3 and one pet. Try to use as little space for this home as possible. And don't forget to send us photos or post on instagram #3duxdesign #billionboxproject to be eligible for our weekly GIVEAWAYS

For the youngest designers,

  • work on fine motor skills with building the cardboard structure
  • use the prompt as a way to discuss what we need vs. what we want in our homes.
  • Consider multifunctional furniture (sofa/bed, table/desk). 
  • discuss sustainable options like solar panels, wind power and water collection, composting vs trash

Older designers

  • challenge your child to create 20x20 grid with a  1" to 1' ratio and have them design the home to be only 100 sq feet in all. 
  • add volume- now let your child make use of vertical space by offering wall height of 14 feet, allowing for a second story
  • consider adding a green roof or small garden and discuss carbon footprints, how plants offset the greenhouse effect, composting and recycling  vs landfill
  • discuss other green options like solar panels, water collection and multi-use furniture

 

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