Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Think! Trash

Think! Challenge, Week 24: Trash. Without clues about the project, choose five pieces of trash out of the trash can. Using those five pieces, along with scissors, tape and string, build a fish that will float.

Our trash can is filled with pencil shavings, floor sweepings and used tissues. Ew.

So I saved the "good" trash for a couple days, and pulled everything out of the recycle bin except for the paper scraps, and asked the fine young gents to choose their items from that pile.

Tolly started with a plastic tray from a package of cookies, two pieces of of a mechanical pencil, a cone-shaped plastic drink lid and a metal rod.
He said, "I don't know how to make a fish!" Which is the point. How does one make a fish with such odd materials? His older brother, always ready to tell others what to do and how to do it, picked up the cookie tray and said, "This is the body." I shooshed him and shooed him back to his own fish. But he was right. Of all the materials, the cookie tray was probably the best candidate for a fish body. Tolly saw immediately that he had a head (plastic lid), two fins (pencil pieces) and that if he slid the rod through the lid, he could fasten the head onto the fish by fitting the rod neatly into the groove in the tray and taping it in place. He taped on the pencil fins too, and off we went to the bathroom sink.

It didn't float. I prepped him ahead of time: "What will we do if it doesn't float? If it doesn't work the first time, remember to look for the parts that sink so that you can redesign your fish." At first he filled the sink with more water, to see if that was the problem. It wasn't.

So, back to the drawing board. He decided his fish needed an anchor to keep it from floating away.
It worked! Actually it sank again, but he turned his fish over so that the tray floated like a boat. Success!
He's very excited about his fish. It's still floating in the bathroom sink.

Calvin chose two styrofoam blocks, a plastic drink lid, a paint sample card and an elastic band. He started with the idea of floating rather than fish, and since he already knew the styrofoam would probably float, he wanted to see if it would float if it had holes poked in it. (Actually, I think his first idea was just to poke the styrofoam with the scissors and the rationale came later. Right about the time I said, "What are you doing?")
He ended up changing materials halfway through because his paint card ripped and the other styrofoam block was too big. He traded for two more plastic lids, leaving him with the large styrofoam block, three lids (a mouth and two fins) and the elastic band, which he strapped onto the back of his fish to make a tail. It floated, even with holes, and he's been playing with it in the bathtub this afternoon, transforming it into a droid boat or some such.


Sara said...

I love making boats from trash - we always have a great time whenever I let the kids do it. Those are some great looking creations.

Think! said...

Great job! You should be proud!