Friday, November 21, 2008

Row Row Row... No! Paddle Your Boat

I'll admit it. Machines scare me. Give me a bug, a worm, or a plant and I'm good, but all this technical stuff is just not my thing. That is why the first time I did a lab on this topic I was sweating, hard!! I usually get about eight parents to help me in lab and the parents who often volunteer are not the ignorant type. Engineers, NASA scientists, race car technologists, chemical, civil, and mechanical engineers don't usually turn a blind eye to a teacher's mistakes. These people have advanced degrees in this area for goodness sakes. Now that I've done it for four years I am able to get through it without deodorant :) (just kidding) Most of the machines and tools we use in daily life are spin offs of these six basic machine types. A machine is a tool used to make work easier. Simple machines are simple tools. Compound machines have two or more simple machines working together to make work easier. Simple right?

The Six Simple Machines

In the November Lab we built these neat little paddle boats. Now they didn't all turn out like this but hopefully the children get the idea and go home and make some more.
Here is how it's done.
Cut out the paddles from a piece of plastic. I used a "to go" box from the local Red Robin (Click Here) Restaurant. They also donated coupons for shakes and kids meals. Thanks Red Robin! White milk bottles are also very good and sturdy. Just remember to wash out the sour milk first.
Cut a slit in each piece and fit them together like this. Then glue them. I used a glue gun but children doing this at home can use Elmers. It just takes a while to dry.
Next, cut a small milk carton or 1qt carton in half lengthwise. Oh, don't forget to wash out the sour milk!
Fit them together like this.
Then cover them up with duct tape.
I used the red and yellow colored duct tape you can find at Walmart in the paint department. This is a good activity for children to utilize the frontal lobes of their brain. If they don't pay attention and think ahead to what they are doing the tape sticks together and their boat will look kind of bumpy. If you have hellicopter issues and need to do things for your child, this part will be very hard for you! I've already had a preferential lobotomy so this part didn't traumatize me too much :)
Now lets make the sail. Find a plastic bag and cut it into a square.
Tape the awesome straw Red Robin provided into the sail.

Now, poke a hole in the top of the milk carton.

Twist a medium sized rubber band around the propeller.

Jump into the tub and let her rip!!


WELCOME TO TuttleTime! said...

that looks so cool Mom!

Rachel said...

What a great idea! Thanks for putting the detailed photos in so I can figure out how to do it with Peter!