Photo by Katydid
For a while now (a long while) I have meant to put out some of the broken machinery hanging around our house for Farmerboy to dismantle. Farmerboy likes to build things. He likes machines. He likes to know the way things work. As far as the little boys go, we have been in kind of a lull between interests, and I imagine that Farmerboy has memorized a few of the Harry Potter books by now, as many times as he has listened to them on CD. (At the very least, I believe the rest of us have memorized them.) It was a good time to bring out something new.
In the picture above, Farmerboy and I are taking apart a wall clock from Katydid's room that doesn't work anymore. It runs on a battery and uses plastic gears. From reading Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip a few times, Farmerboy could also identify the coil attached to the battery that ran the gears.
Of course, when one kid starts to do something interesting...
Everybody wants to join in.
(Katydid joined in, too, with an old, unworking digital camera. She's just not in these pictures because she took most of them -- with my working camera.)
Stuff we took apart this week:
- clock radio
- phone bases for cordless phones
- digital camera
- printer (that would be Gareth's project)
And this is the sort of stuff we found inside:
- circuit boards
- computer chips
And yes, it was all junk that was hanging around our basement. One advantage to being the sort of people who take a long while to get rid of junk, I guess.
Anyway, a number of questions were raised about circuits and electronics in general and how gears work. To support the investigation I dug out a few more hands-on kits we had hanging around, including a Gears! set (not exactly the one I linked to, and missing many pieces) and a couple of erector sets: a metal one for ages 8 and up and a plastic one with bigger pieces for younger kids (again, missing most of the pieces.)
The twins built war machines with it, of course.
Farmerboy and I had a hard time with the older erector set, though, which was mechanized and required a battery pack to be assembled. But none of the bolts seemed big enough to go all the way through the pack and still have enough length to put a washer on the end. I do have a little mechanical skill here and there, but we decided this might need a consultation with Dad.
Considering the level of interest that carried through the week... and the fact that it's just about February... I'm hoping to free up some money for some kits with all the pieces. Here's what I'm looking at:
This is just my wish list. We already have a more complicated electronics kit, which we got for FREE because somebody left it at the dump and Andy picked it up. When he brought it home, we were amazed to see that it was completely intact and looked as if it had never been used. This was a few years ago and the kids were really too young to use it yet. Now, however, Gareth should be able to put it to good use.
And, of course, we have our share of batteries, wires, and little light bulbs... and lots of Legos... and pen and paper for designing our own fantastic machines...