Author Archives: graeme

DIY 4 Wheel Drive Toy Electric Car

This project gives some familiarity with electricity, motors and wiring. It also gets a child thinking about drive methods, gears/pulleys and their ratios, since the wheels are obviously turning much slower than the motor, power to the wheels being geared down in two stages. Another principle is that of friction and how rubber around the wheels results in more traction. All of these principles can be raised for discussion and further investigation if it seems appropriate for the student’s level. Continue reading

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Morse Code Practice Key

This project utilizes a wide variety of materials and technologies: woodwork, electronics, computer software if desired, and the code itself.

Morse code is still used by many amateur radio operators. One can also still find military, maritime and aviation applications for it. Pilots, for example, need to know it so they can recognize the location code sent out by radio beacons. Continue reading

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Cardboard Periscope

This project is easy to make. Apart from the fun kids can have, spying on others from around corners etc., it’s also quite educational. For example, the relative angles at which light arrives at and reflects off a surface will likely become clear without the child having to be told. Also, the dimensions of the mirror, if you are cutting it yourself, can be worked out by mathematics. At least it’s one practical use they can see for the formulas they’ll learn in school. Continue reading

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Paper-maché Landscapes

paper-maché (“paper mash-ay“) comes from the french word papier-mâché, meaning ‘chewed-up paper’)

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TV or not TV

It seems there’s a growing trend to get rid of “the box.” And a good thing it is, too. I’m firmly convinced that the last thing you want in your house is a TV.

As a child in the 60’s, before we got a TV, our living room at night was normally a hive of activity. We weren’t a noisy family, in spite of there being seven kids, but there was a lot going on: cooking experiments, model planes, playing cards or board games, lots of pets to play with and a hundred and one other things. Continue reading

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