Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dipping Dino Head, Fun With Gravity for Science Sunday



Since we've had a kind of dinosaur thing going this week, I was happy to see a dinosaur project in Jill Frankel Hauser's Gizmos & Gadgets, Creating Science Contraptions that Work (& knowing why), that we checked out from the library again, for a second time. It's the same book from which we got the idea for our Tipping Tiger Toy, back in September. This particular project, is really about gravity, more than dinosaurs, but it involves making a cardboard dinosaur - so, good enough.


The idea is to suspend the dino head, on a string, between the two body pieces, over a slit in a handle piece, with another string tied to a spot near the front, and a spot near the back of the head, with a weight hanging in the middle. When the weight swings forward, and back, it causes the head to dip up, and down, demonstrating the pull of gravity.

It seemed like a pretty simple idea, but I failed to notice on the back of the book, that it says, "For children ages 7 to 14 - and their families and friends!" And, believe me, it's not kidding about the age range. The kids helped trace out the dino pattern for me...


...and dutifully helped with some of the gluing...


...but other than that, I was left pretty much on my own for this one. And even I, almost gave up, about this point...


To attach the head, you run a string through a bead, tying the end, then through the shoulder, through another bead, through the head, through another bead, through the shoulder, through a final bead, and finally tie the other side off. It's next to impossible to get the string tight enough to hold the head. I think, maybe using a tooth pick, instead of a string, might be a better option.

I also had some trouble getting my weight, a nut, to swing straight back and forth. It wanted to twist, and slide on the string, and was very frustrating. But, with my husband smirking on, I persevered, added some tape, to keep everything tight, and swinging, and presented the children with their new science toy.

They liked the toy, and even listened patiently as I explained the science behind it (pretty well word for word out of the book). But, then my three year old, in great distress, wanted to know why I hadn't made one for each of them. At which point, my husband's smirk turned into a full blown laugh.

He is sooo in charge of the next science project!

For more fun with science (some of which, can actually be done by children), check out this week's Science Sunday link up, at Adventures in Mommydom.



It's great to be a homeschooler.

8 comments:

Debbie said...

Don't you just love those instructions that are nearly impossible to follow! Great job hanging in there and getting one put together at least!

Christy said...

I applaud you for sticking with it. I can't say that I would have.

Ticia said...

That gets frustrating when it doesn't work the way the claim. I wonder if a heavier cardboard would have worked?

Kelly said...

I think it turned out great. I'm impressed that you finished it too. I would have opted for a day at the park!

MaryAnne said...

This sounds really complicated! You really should try the vinegar and baking soda experiment - there's no mess so long as you prep everything without help from the kiddos and make sure the balloon doesn't fly off during the experiment =)

Discovering Montessori said...

Good job for sticking to it!! I probably would of stopped at the tracing the dino pattern. Thanks for sharing.

Wonder Mom said...

I am so NOT mechanical- I am thinking this would not be an experiment for our family, but it does sound so cool!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I found your blog before trying this on my own. We have done all of the experiments in Gizmos and Gadgets up to this point and this one has been the only one where the instructions weren't completely clear. We got through it. It took 45mins and a lot of work to see a little head bob up and down. My 10-year old wasn't impressed! LOL I tried your tooth pick idea and that held the head too tight. In the end I had to thread the string. I used pony beads and kite string. The beads don't have to be tightly tied for it to work. Tape instead of glue for sure! Hope our combined experience helps someone else.

Homeschool Mom in Washington State