We’re unabashed holiday nuts around here, with our particular favorites being Halloween and Christmas. Eva’s been looking forward to October for months, carefully planning out her Dr. Who costume and TARDIS prop. If you’re not familiar with Dr. Who and his spaceship that looks like a 1950s British police box, click here. Last weekend she decorated the whole house, decking the halls with ghosts and witches and creepy skulls. It’s a Thing.
It only makes sense then, that we should make our science and math study mesh with her holiday plans. Though things will evolve over the month, this is what we’ve come up with thus far:
1. Do Spooky Math
We started with a Vi Hart video (which you can see below) and then made her candy corn Sierpinski’s triangle. Watching the video is really fun, and we thought we understood the concept, but really you learn so much more by doing. By the time we finished our candy corn model, we both felt like Sierpinski Masters.
2. Create a mad scientist explosion…
…with test tubes and a chemical reaction called elephant’s toothpaste. We learned about it in the video below (if you’re in a hurry, start at the 4:25 mark). We’ve already assembled the ingredients, and will be doing this sometime in the next week or so. Of course I’ll post it here.
3. Build a TARDIS…
…engineering it carefully to match texture and proportion, making it mobile and able to collect candy, and wiring it up for lighting. We started today by collecting a freezer box from a local hardware store. I taught Eva about the magic of primer, and we got started right away, taking over our small dining room and applying the primer and blue coats.
Last week’s work with our first EEME kit inspired our discussion about wiring the TARDIS for lighting. The EEME program, which runs about $20/month and delivers a new electronics kit each month to your door, comes complete with amazingly detailed online instructions. I am so excited that we signed up. Our first kit helped Eva and me explore basic circuitry, using an LED, wires, a resistor, batteries, and a basic breadboard that allowed us to create all sorts of electrical pathways. Check out our photos in the gallery below.
I also found this handy little program that lets Eva play with circuitry virtually. She’s already enjoyed working with it in her own time, and has made connections that she might not have with only the hands-on lab work.
It made sense to apply these new-found skills to her Halloween costume. I agreed to purchase several cheap battery-operated light strings to light up the windows in exchange for her being willing to create the lighting for the top completely from scratch. That means she will have to design the circuit, inventory what she needs, and learn how to match up the voltage needed with that being provided by the batteries. And she’s got to make the light bright enough to meet her aesthetic needs. An extra challenge: provide the most light possible with the least amount of electricity.
Other engineering challenges: creating a door that opens and stays shut when you shut it; creating window “panes” that disburse the light to make a glow-effect; create an actual accessible phone box that you can access from the front of the TARDIS, and make the entire thing mobile, so that she can pull it behind her. My commitment to her and to my wider audience here: KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT. This will be a challenge, frankly, because I love stuff like this. Let’s see if I can truly remain hands off and let her figure this out. Oh yeah, and my bigger challenge: stay away from the candy corns. They are Evil.
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