Physics faculty alert: It's very small, but teaches a powerful lesson, this little diamagnetic-properties demo kit. You get (4) plated magnets, each 1/4" square x 3/32", and (2) 1/4" square pieces of graphite to float above them. The graphite may have slight chips along the edge but that won't affect the effect. Includes instructions/fact sheet.
For the steady-handed model-maker. These mini-models from Metal Earth® are demanding and beautiful. Use a tweezers to punch out the little pieces from the laser-cut shiny steel sheets, and assemble them using the tabs and slots--no glue, no screws. You pick the Hubble Telescope (3” x 2” x 2-1/2”), the U.S.S. Arizona (5-3/4” long) or the 1908 Ford Model T (3-1/2” x 1-7/8” x 1-3/4”). All include instructions, which you’ll need. For ages 14+.
Home robotics, bubeleh. Build a working hydraulic arm with this excellent 66-piece kit from Pathfinders' Simple Machine series. Structure is die-cut plywood and the kit includes tubing, (3) syringes and glue. You'll need a ruler and scissors. The finished arm will be approx 13-1/2" tall and will reach out over 16" and rotate 90° on an 8-5/8' x 6-7/8" base. Comes with a 12-page manual and uses water. Beautiful, too. For ages 8+.
The Tumbling Robot Experiment is relatively easy to assemble and has sensors in his (her?) belly, back and legs so he (it?) can fall and get up again, like some of us humans. At 8" tall, in between tumbles, it's a manic, sliding, chomping, swinging thingy, like a droid cookie monster in a Pilates class. You put a pair of "AA"s in his feet.
Everything you need to build a little DC motor is included in this kit (except sandpaper, screwdriver, scissors and, of course, an AA battery). The instructions are simple and explain the theory as well as assembly. Fun and educational.
Based on drawings from Da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus, this Pathfinders catapult kit uses a pair of bent wooden arms as springs to launch clay balls (included) over (4) meters at enemy fortifications (not included, go make your own enemies). The assembled model will be approx 9" tall on a 10" x 7-1/4" base. Made from pre-cut, untreated wood from sustainable forests, and built with pegs for added strength and verisimilitude. A 2013 Creative Child Magazine Top Toy of the Year Winner and a great resource for STEM activities. For ages 12 and up.
Rainbow fans are no longer slaves to the weatherperson with the Solar Rainbow Maker. You assemble the little solar-powered motor, stick it on the inside of your window, hang the (3) glass crystals from it and your room is like unicorn heaven with rainbows bouncing off every surface. Motor is approx 2" sq and crystals are 5/8", 7/8" and 1-1/8" across.
We spit on plastic. And so will you when you see these laser-cut bright steel models from Fascinations®. Snap-together pieces. The models are small, but worthy of permanent display, and designed for the grown-ups to assemble and display, rather than the kids to play with. You pick the Metal Marvels™ 3-1/2” long x 2-3/4” wide space shuttle Atlantis. (They aren’t making any more big shuttles, Pilgrim.) Or the 4-1/2” tall x 1-3/4” wide at the base MetalWorks™ Eiffel Tower.
Knot everyone knows how much fun knots are. You can join the knot knowledgeable with Knots, Splices and Rope Work an 88-page soft-cover book originally published in 1917. Includes detailed instructions for tying many dozens of knots, ties, bends, hitches, loops, nooses, lashings, seizings, splices and things like the Matthew Walker, Selvagee Tie, Flemish Eye and the Topsail-Halyard Toggle. Includes (4) pieces of nylon rope for practice. Will tie up a kid for weeks.
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