Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rubber Band Wind-up Boat

This easy to build boat uses resources you should be able to find around the house.  Remember Newton's III Law, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction".  So, as the flipper pushes against the water, the water pushes back and the boat is propelled forward.

You will need:
Small water bottle and cap or recycled plastic bottle
Two pencils
duct tape
rubber band
flipper (plastic gift card works great) 

1) Fill your water bottle with a little bit of water to give it some weight.  Tape the two pencils to both sides of the water bottle. You'll want to leave at least 2/3 of the pencil length hanging down from the bottom side of the bottlle.

2) Place a rubber band between the two pencils.

3) Make a flipper by cutting down an old plastic gift card or solicitation credit card to size.  You want the flipper to slide in the rubber band and not touch the pencils or the bottle.  Twist the flipper over and over in the rubber band.  Hold onto the flipper so it doesn't unwind yet.

4) Place the boat into the water and release the flipper. 

5) As the flipper unwinds and pushes against the water, the boat is propelled.

Monday, August 8, 2011

SMMART MATH: Juggling Patterns
Circus Jugglers

The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus will be in Salt Lake City, UT from Sept.22-25th!  Along with the circus come the amazing Fusco Brothers and Smaha Troupe of juggling experts.  Focus, dexterity, skill and a lot of practice!

The Fusco Brothers were actually born in the circus and began their entertainment career as part of their mother and father's act.  The twins began juggling as something to pass time, but soon proved their skill and talent to be the some of the greatest jugglers on earth!  "Emiliano and Maximiliano have a unique advantage being twins.  They often spin in unison without planning or signals, simply acting on their own impuses.  Added to that, they put in six to eight-hours a day practicing.  It's no wonder few jugglers in the world are capapble of doing the tricks the Fusco Brothers perform."

For twins Petr and Lenka, and older sister Zuzana, the circus was a tradition in their family for generations.  Their circus-performing parents coached their children to become a world-class juggling act, the Smaha Troupe!

Juggling is more than just throwing balls up in the air.  There are many mathmatical patterns that dictate just which ball is thrown, how high it is thrown into the air, and how many balls are included in the computation.
There are actually numbers assigned to how high a ball is thrown:
Then comes the pattern that could include up to eight, nine or more objects flying through the air! In it's simplest form, the three ball toss that many of us can perform (not me:) is the 4-4-1 "site swap" pattern where one ball is thrown into the air and the other that just landed is shifted to the throwing hand. 

Show your child the chart above and toss a soft foam ball up in the air.  Ask your child what number the ball would be.  Pass the ball between your hands and show him a 1.  Toss it below your chin for a 3 or at eye leve for a 4.  Have your child toss up a ball and try to make it a 4 or a 5. 

You can create your own pattern by throwing one ball at different levels.  Ask your child to show you a 3-3-1, 3-3-1, or even show you a 4-1-4, 4-1-4...

Depending on your child's age and ability, he may be able to juggle a few balls in the air! 

Monday, August 1, 2011


Just this summer we introduced the girls to the power of the magnifying glass, burning a small hole into wood and smelling the smoke. (Of course, parental supervision needed.)

This activity takes a bit of patience, but the result is a pretty cool display of harnessing the sun's magnificent power.

You'll need a magnifying glass and a piece of wood...and a sunny day.

Find the right distance of the magnifying glass from the wood where the sun's light is concentrated into a pinpoint of bright light.  Slowly, slowly, slowly start to burn the wood with the concentrated light.  Move the pinpoint of light down and around to draw a picture or write the first letter of your child's name.

It's a pretty cool memento to display-"harnessed sunlight".


Related Posts with Thumbnails