Forum: Arts / Crafts & Hobbies

Science/Engineering Activities for kids?
By Iamalittlefishie
On Thu Apr 14, 2011 07:14 PM

Hi everyone,

My university puts on a hug engineering day for local elementary, middle, and high school students. An organization I am in always does something hands-on for the kids, but we're totally tired of what we used to do.... we made oobleck (en.wikipedia.org . . .) in both a pool (so you can run across it... aka "walking on water") or in small batches that the kids can mix themselves to play with a small amount in their hands. We could teach them about the non-newtonian properties, etc, or just keep it simple for the younger kids.

We're supposed to be educating the kids and getting them interested in science and engineering. We are a pretty general group, so we don't really have limits on what we can do... we just have few ideas!

I've thought of having the kids do foil boats, so they can learn about buoyancy, etc while keeping things cheap. Last year we spent $500 on corn starch alone...

There will be two days, the first day having roughly 10,000 kids, and the second having around 5,000. So we want to get kids in and out and have them learn a bit. Any suggestions?

We try to keep it hands on because we'll get in better with the judges. The event is also a competition for the clubs and organizations participating, and we want to win!

Any ideas would be appreciated :)

Thanks!

2 Replies to Science/Engineering Activities for kids?

re: Science/Engineering Activities for kids?
By Mendelmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:20 AM
One fun science activity I remember back from my school days was designing a tower out of drinking straws and masking tape. Each group was given a certain number of straws and length of tape, and they had to make a tower as high as possible that would support a small wooden block for a given length of time (like a minute or so). The successful groups took into account the center of gravity (i.e. wider base and narrower top), the fact that a triangle is the most secure shape (so the sides of the tower were made of straw triangles), and... I'm sure there were other physics-y principles buried in there. It was a fun activity, cheap, kept everyone occupied for a while, and illustrated useful concepts. Note that you don't have to give the kids a lesson on center of mass etc. beforehand. You can let them figure it out on their own, and analyze the successful and unsuccessful towers at the end. Sounds like a fun program, let us know what you end up doing!
re: Science/Engineering Activities for kids?
By schuhplattlerPremium member
On Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:07 PM
1. Surface tension - show them how to float a needle.
2. The cooling effect of sudden expansion (e.g. the formation of dry ice upon discharge from a liquid CO2 fire extinguisher)
3. Mix acetone and dry ice, then demonstrate the effects of such temperatures (e. g. freeze mercury and drive a nail with it; cool lead and show that it rings like a bell).
4. The effects of lenses, mirrors, and prisms.
5. The iodine clock reaction - show how heat and agitation affect the speed of reactions.

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