20 July 2015
Science Club: Race Cars
This week's science club was all about motion. We studied Newton's Laws of Motion and then had time to build cars. The task was fairly simple: use LEGO bricks to build a car that can be powered by a balloon. I gave each child two LEGO wheel sets, one balloon, and a bucket of LEGO bricks to share at their table.
It was really interesting to watch the parents and kids deal with frustration in this task. Many of the kids had ideas, but the parents all whipped out their phones to see what the internet had to say about this topic. I didn't want to squash their creativity, but in the interest of curbing frustration I made a LEGO car out of four pieces and two wheel sets that did exactly what it was supposed to do: it moved forward when the balloon it held was inflated. I showed this as an example only when a family or kid was so frustrated they were thinking of giving up.
Once kids were able to make a successful car, though, they began experimenting in earnest. Now they could think about how to change the car and thereby change their results. Some of them raced each other. Some built a second car. It was hard to get everyone to leave at the end of this program, and many mentioned that they'd be repeating this experiment at home. And that is indeed my end game: inspire curiosity and wonder in kids so that they continue to do science even when they are not at science club.