Summer is just around the corner and if you are like me, it came out of nowhere. What happened to February, March and April? I still have to find summer camps for my son to attend and I have some conferences I need to prepare for including the National Science Teachers Association event this July in Denver.
If you are looking for a set of hands-on, science and technology based activities for the summer, then the Summer STEAM program may be just what you are looking for. It includes 6 activities for students in grades 3-8 to learn about creative electronics and programming. The activities are not only fun, but they are affordable, in some cases even free.
Download the free guide and let us know if you use the program this summer or even give one or two activities a try.
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.
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.
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
Hot glue gun (or really strong, sticky tape!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
We recently published our Afterschool Maker Program. The activities are the perfect way to get acquainted with "making" and to kickstart a makerspace or introduce hands-on, DIY projects to your students.
We are excited to give you our STEAM Friday Program. STEAM Friday is a once a week program for kindergarten through 2nd grade that aligns with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards (CCSS). For 10 weeks, students will engage in their own take-home projects that introduce them to STEAM through creative materials.
If you use our guide in your program, remix it or have any questions, let us know in the comments below!
Follow @kithub on Twitter so you get alerted when we release our guide to running a Summer STEAM Program for grades 3-8. It includes electronics and coding activities. It's for facilitators with no experience or those that want new ideas!