Sunday, January 10, 2010

We Built a Flappet!

Joey, Johnny, Madi, and I headed to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham today for Steve Gerberich's Build a Flappet workshop. Steve just finished a successful run of his Holiday Springs and Sprockets exhibit which delighted visitors to the museum including us. Last year after the show, he ran a Gravity Racer workshop where the kids built cars and raced them. This year the idea was to build some sort of animal and use strings to move it's wings, fins, hands, etc. Thus, a flappet.

Thankfully, Aunt Debbie showed up to help out. With hot glue guns, saws, screwdrivers, etc. the kids and I really needed the help.

First the kids built the base using precut wood pieces and the hot glue guns. We used a drill to put 3 holes in the base and put eyelets in the holes. The strings would later travel through the holes.

Second, the kids picked their animal and Aunt Debbie and I traced the figures onto a piece of cardboard folded in half. I then used a saw to cut through both layers of the cardboard at the same time to make two identical copies of the body parts.

Third, we were back over at the hot glue gun table actually assembling the flapper. It took some thought (and asking for help) to get the body facing correctly on the vertical stick so that the string would work correctly.

Fourth, the kids painted their flappets. Made did an excellent job with her orange cat with black stripes.

Fifth, I put the strings throug the eyelets and used a screwdrier to poke wholes through the cardboard where needed. The flappet has come to life.

I really think Steve's concept of building a flappet was a great idea. The kids enjoyed working with the tools and designing their own special flappets. You can see from their proud faces with their finished flappets that the workshop was a very meaningful experience for them.

More pictures from today's trip to the museum and the flappet workshop are here.

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