So what to do? Hmmmm?
My students love to build things and throw stuff so let's put both together! Now, for the green part. Let's see if we can make something that is recyclable and fun! Looking around the classroom, I see lots of cardboard (used shipping boxes) and a good supply of Elmer's glue. So, with a little help from Autodesk's CAD program Inventor, I whipped up a nice little Catapult (Hence "CAD-A-Pult").
Next, to obtain more cardboard, I put out an email to other teachers in my school for boxes. Boy, did the boxes pour in!
If you would like a copy of the plans, information on how to obtain them free of charge is listed after the assembly instructions.
Step 1: An Idea Is Recycled
Step 2: Drawings
So with instructions in hand and cardboard boxes collected, it's time to unleash the hounds, er students.
A quick safety reminder: no running with scissors and don't try to catch dropped cutting knifes. With that said, off we go!
Step 1. Cut out the profiles from the plans (note we even recycled the scraps)
Step 3: Sub-assemblies
Step 3. Place the sub-assemblies on some scrap paper so that any glue that squeezes out in the next step will not dry your piece to the desk!
Step 4. Make a paper book sandwich. After gluing the assemblies and while they're still wet, sandwich the sub-assemblies between two pieces of paper and place a heavy book on top to gentle squeeze the pieces together. Let the sub-assemblies dry overnight.
Step 4: Assemblies
Step 5: Final Steps
**THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO MAKE SURE TO KEEP THE ASSEMBLY SQUARE. ADD TAPE AS NEEDED TO KEEP THE CATAPULT SQUARE**
MAKE SURE THE THROWING ARM FREELY MOVES BEFORE LETTING THE ASSEMBLY DRY OVERNIGHT.
NOW GO AWAY AND PLAY OUTSIDE. DON'T MESS WITH IT!
LET THE ASSEMBLY DRY OVERNIGHT.
Step 6: Final Steps
Step 7: Fun and Learning
1. The students were able to make an actual prototype from plans (Hands-on project). Some students had never made anything from a set of plans before.
2. Most of the students had already created plans of machine parts but never had the opportunity to take it to the next step: creating a prototype ( shameful plug for the need for a Zing Laser printer)
3. The students were involved in market research in order to help improve the initial design. After creating the CAD-A-PULT, students in my class were given the opportunity to play with it. I also invited several other classes in the school to try it out. After each student played with the CAD-A-PULT, he/she completed a survey. The survey asked basic questions and gave immediate feedback to my students about how the CAD-A-PULT was viewed by others. From the surveys we were able to discover a couple of short comings in the initial design, which we improved in the next version.
4.Finally a totally recyclable toy made from recycled cardboard. Educational, fun, and green!
Hidden in the construction and play was learning (diabolical I know :-)
Even us teachers had fun.
For free plans, have your teacher send me an email from their school email account and I will email back 1:1 scaled PDF printable drawings. (Note: these plans are set up for an 11"X17" printer, NOT letter size)
Anyone else who wants plans, please send me an email and I will let you know what to do (as soon as I figure it out!).