Learn to Do-It-Yourself

Category Archives for "Learn"

Zipline Spaceship

How to Build a Spaceship that Flies

Kids love to make things that move. This project combines the fun of building something that moves with some basic electronics. Build a flying spaceship, sleigh, balloon or anything else that you can dream up.

VOCABULARY

Series circuit = A single pathway through which electricity can flow. All of the parts of a series circuit are connected one after another.

Parallel circuit = a circuit which has two or more separate paths for electricity to flow through.

MATERIALS

  • 2 1.5V hobby motors
  • 2 AA batteries
  • 2 AA battery holders
  • 2 wooden paint stir sticks (or something similar)
  • 1 small roll of duct tape
  • 1 hot glue stick cut in half
  • 1 roll of heavy duty string
  • 1 container you’d like to make fly

Tools

  • Hot glue gun (or really strong, sticky tape!)
  • Scissors

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1

Attach one hobby motor using hot glue to the top of each paint stir stick. Make sure the motors are perpendicular to each other (facing the same way). We added some electrical tape for reinforcement.

If you would rather not use a hot glue gun, then you need to make sure the motors are attached really well to the sticks using tape or something similar.

IMG_0264

Step 2

Tape the positive side of one AA battery to the negative side of the other battery. The batteries are now in series. We recommend wrapping duct tape around them.

When two or more batteries are placed in series, the voltages of the batteries are added together so our total battery pack voltage is 3 volts since each AA battery is 1.5 volts.

Batteries

Step 3

Tape a paper clip to each side of the battery pack. Wrap a rubber band around the entire battery pack to make sure the paper clips are in contact with each end of the battery pack and the batteries are making contact with each other.

BatteryPack

Step 4

Test to see if the motors work by clipping both positive (red) alligator clips to one paper clip and both negative (black) alligator clips to the other paper clip. If the motors don’t turn on, check to see that your batteries are making contact or that the paper clips are touching the metal part of the ends of the batteries.

These motors are connected in parallel.

TestConnection

Step 5

Hot glue the spaceship (container) to the paint stir sticks. The motor shafts should be attached to the the same side of the paint stick and pointing in the same direction.

 

HotGlueSticks

Step 6

Cut two small pieces of a glue stick and poke each one onto the end of each motor shaft. This will ensure that the sleigh doesn’t fall off the string. Make sure they are on tight but leave some space for the string.

GlueStick

Step 7

Hang a string across a room.

Make sure the string is very taut and level otherwise your sleigh may not fly very far and may even take a nose dive. Ouch!

Step 8

Place the battery back in the sleigh and connect the motors to the paper clips (see Step 4). Hang the sleigh on the string from the motors by placing it on the motor shaft between the glue stick end and the motor body.

Step 9

Watch it fly!

Please share your photos on your favorite photo sharing site and use the tag #kithub so we can display it on the website.

RESOURCES

Book: Kinetic Contraptions

All About Circuits – Elementary Circuits

STEAM outside

How Can You Learn STEAM Outside? Try these 9 Activities!







We love STEAM because there are just as many activities to do outdoors as there are indoors. Go outside and try these 9 activities this summer!


Build a backyard weather station

Gather tools like a rain gauge, a thermometer, a weather vane, and a barometer to collect data about the weather. If you keep good records, you’ll notice changes over time and you might even be able to start to make short-term weather predictions!


Cook in a solar oven

Use some common household items and a grown-up’s help to build your own solar oven to cook S’mores!


Analyze rocks and minerals with a scratch test

Collect some rocks outside and categorize your new collection with a scratch test. Using a nail (be careful!) scratch each rock. Some rocks will get scratches on them because they are softer than the nail. Rocks that are harder than the nail won’t get any scratches. After you sort your rocks, you can find out more about Mohs hardness scale and test more rocks!


Make a boat

If you’ve been doing some summer reading like we have, you might be inspired to go out and make your own paper boat. Find out how!


Find symmetry in nature

Go on a walk and take photos or draw pictures of found items in nature. Find a draw the lines of symmetry on each object.


Engineer an egg drop

This is a great outdoor activity because you’ll need climb someplace high to drop your egg and it makes for easy clean-up if you happen to fail on the first try. If you’re unfamiliar with the egg drop experiment, read about it here.


Learn about life cycles

Opportunities to learn about life cycles are easy to find in the spring and summer. Observe a bird’s nest or a butterfly cocoon and talk about the different stages of life from egg to a grown creature. You can even grown a garden to explore and observe the life cycle of a seed.


Try orienteering

Hone your map-reading skills with orienteering. Find an event near you this summer.


Make a sundial

Go outside on a sunny day just before noon and make this paper plate sundial.


Share your ideas for outdoor STEAM in the comments! 

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STEAM Kits and Curriculum

What is STEAM? A Quick Guide for Parents


You may have heard the term STEM or STEAM recently as part of your child's education. We're finding that many parents are feeling lost about what STEAM is and how they can help as education moves quickly in a new direction of maker-spaces, coding, and electronics in the classroom. This is a quick intro on what STEAM is for parents who want to stay up to date.

WHAT IS STEM OR STEAM?

Kind of like the subject area language arts, STEM is a mix of interrelated subjects that are taught together in an integrated way. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. KitHub and some other STEM initiatives are pioneering the term STEAM, which adds an 'A' to the acronym for art.  

There is a lot of research suggesting that integrating these subjects, especially adding a creative component with art, is beneficial for students and makes sense for the way kids learn. STEAM lessons are usually hands-on and exploratory (your might hear your child's teacher using the term inquiry-based). STEAM education prepares students for the real world, where professionals often use multiple disciplines (an engineer might also use a lot of math or a programmer might find creative approaches helpful to solving a problem.) 

You might be hearing a lot more about STEAM because it's becoming increasingly important that schools and communities catch up to educating modern students. Most school districts in the US don't have a set curriculum for coding. Many schools don't have enough technology resources to fully integrate technology into education. For what some schools may lack, you might be able to find other resources in you community to help your child practice STEAM learning. 

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN MY KID'S SCHOOL?

Ask your child's teacher about hands-on STEAM lessons or school activities. Some schools integrate STEAM in the classroom and other schools have clubs or fairs to encourage school-wide excitement. Make sure you find out about any after school or summer school programs that your school has partnerships with as well. The school librarian is usually a great resource to find out about school maker-spaces or technology initiatives. 

WHAT RESOURCES CAN I FIND IN MY COMMUNITY?

Community maker-spaces have been popping up in cities all over the world. A maker-space is an area that holds events or sometimes rents out space or equipment to make all kinds of projects. Lots of maker-spaces have things like 3D printers, laser cutting machines, and woodworking tools. They might charge a membership fee or one-time fee, and sometimes they are free! Maker-spaces are a great resource for STEAM learning.

There are lots of government, business, and community sponsored STEM initiatives as well. You can find online inspiration and resources for school and home.

HOW CAN I HELP AT HOME?

The best way to prepare students for STEAM learning is to start young and make it interesting to them. Provide a variety of experiences that your child enjoys, like going to science museums, making STEAM kits, reading STEAM books, and going to maker-spaces.