Engineering Projects from Catapults to Robots at KID Museum
Generally I plan everything we do for events and activities in Washington, DC. Partly because I love DC and it has so much to offer that there’s no need to go elsewhere; partly because it’s much more convenient than traveling in our neighboring states. But one way to get me to venture beyond the borders is to have a science event for kids.
So, Najwa and I hopped in an Uber and headed out to Bethesda to the KID Museum where they were having a Science Day.
The first activity was building an air tunnel pipe thing. You connect all these pipes, making sure it’s airtight, then putting a ball in it to travel to the other side of the museum.
There were kids from a local school there who volunteered to help the younger kids with their projects. One of the projects was building a catapult game. Using Popsicle sticks, hot glue and some rubber bands, you build a catapult to toss balls into the thing like skeet ball.
Next was robot wars. Using a plastic cup, a motor, battery pack and tape, you made a “robot” to enter the ring to see which robot can push the others out. Overall, all the robots spun in circles. None really pushed others, but the kids enjoyed it anyway.
Another activity was designing something to put in the wind tunnel that would float. It was about having a solid mass but with enough surfaces that would catch the wind and float to the top, or at least not sink to the bottom.
There were a handful of other cool activities. All the projects had some lesson in understanding how to use simple materials to build objects that did stuff. That’s essentially what science is — using everyday materials together to do things that none can do individually. The volunteer kids were great, having a lot of patience for the little kids who really didn’t see the logic in what they were doing but eventually got it figured out.
Maybe one day it’ll be Najwa there helping younger kids do the same activities.