In the Junior Mechanical Engineering: Let’s Make Toys classes, our youngest engineers will be introduced to fundamental concepts of energy, materials, and movement. Students will explore and construct six different toys throughout this unit, including spinners, magical boomerang cans, wind-up whirligigs, and more.
In the introductory lesson, students will explore the field of mechanical engineering and discover what engineers in this field do. They will learn that mechanical engineers invent, design, and build all kinds of machines, including many toys they play with every day! As students build and test a Popper toy, they will learn that the greater the force upon an object, the greater the change in motion.
Students will explore the properties of spinning objects during the third lesson. They will build spinners with a variety of household objects. By the end, they will understand certain properties that help a spinner to gain enough momentum to rotate for the longest amount of time.
During the third lesson of the unit, students will learn about the basics of kinetic and potential energy by constructing a magical Boomerang Can. This toy uses stored energy to return to the students after being rolled away on a flat, smooth surface.
Students will create a fantastic buzzing, spinning toy during the fifth lesson of this unit. They will learn that vibrations often create a noise. In this case, the vibrations between a rubber band and index card make a silly, buzzing noise sure to elicit giggles.
Good Vibrations Guitar
Pull out your lawn chairs and get ready to enjoy an evening of acoustic melodies. Well, maybe not yet. During the Good Vibrations Guitar lesson students will continue learning about sounds produced from vibrations. They will assemble a cardboard box guitar and experiment with various pitches produced by plucking rubber band “strings.”