Friday, November 4, 2016

Can You Build it?

We had a fun trip to our local children's museum this week.  The younger boys were enrolled in an engineering class but we always show up just a bit early and play around with a few of the exhibits.


This week the boys chose to spend all their time before class trying to stump each other on building.  There is a think space available where one person builds with pattern blocks and explains what they are doing to the person sitting across from them.  Just listening to instructions they try to build the same design/ sculpture. Well, let me tell you it is not as easy as it sounds!  We had great fun taking turns being the builder or the listener.


After that Alec challenged me to a puzzle build.  We tried to build two different puzzles side by side and realized that we quickly ran out of the right pieces so he had the idea to use the stopwatch feature on my phone and have us each make the same puzzle.  I am quite the visual person and beat him by a good 2 minutes but he was a good sport about his loss.


The boys headed to class and were challenged to draw up blueprints for their designs before digging into the material available to make a pendulum, a geodome, and a bridge big enough for them to fit through/under.

Drawing up plans for a geodome using marshmallows and toothpicks

Alec beings making his pendulum using popscicle sticks, clothespins, clay, elastic
bands, string and a washer 

Drawing up his design and chatting with friends 

Evan and his friend decide to try building a tunnel together using large dowels,
elastic bands, and fabric 


Alec's pendulum

It works!

Evan's second attempt at a geodome

He was so proud of himself for completing it; and having it match his blueprint!

Alec's geodome

Put together in minutes!
Evan drew up a quick sketch and then tried to make a pendulum. 


It worked! And his design was probably the quickest one to put together of the whole class!

After class we hung out on the playground and enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather and sunshine.




I love the idea of putting simple building challenges in front of the kids and encouraging them to think through their own solutions.  I've created an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to engineering challenges for kids and we can't wait to try them out.

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10 comments :

  1. How fun. My boys love things like that too.

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    1. It was a lot of fun. My youngest struggles and quits but once I sat next to him he totally took over and did the projects himself anyway.

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  2. What a great week! I wish we had classes like that near us, they look awesome!

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    1. It was a fun week. We are so lucky to have so many opportunities nearby.

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  3. we have tried similar things in the Science Museum here..

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    1. It's been great. We have two more classes to go.

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  4. I love this, some great challenges #inspirememonday

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  5. What a GREAT class! We loved attending classes like this back in Atlanta. Unfortunately, I haven't found many here in the country.... I guess I just need to create a challenge for us!

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    1. It really is so much easier to have someone else plan it isn't it? Though I do try to pull out a few challenges here and there when the boys are complaining they're bored.

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