Well, as the festival rolled around in the spring everything sped up to a shocking degree and writing the blog fell by the wayside. So I am going to try to sum up how last school year ended in a post or two. The STEAM Club kids had a great day at the Oxford Kinetics Festival showing off their robotic creations and competing on the obstacle courses they made. After the festival we all decided we wanted a break from robotics and we threw out the question of what everyone was interested in investigating. Following the festival and its flight-related theme, several of the kids said they wanted to experiment with things that fly. We spent one day just making tons of different paper airplane designs and throwing them around the gym for a couple hours which was a surprisingly good time. The discussions held that day in the gym led us to start pondering kites. After looking at a variety of kite designs we could work on we decided to try our hands making box kites and tetrahedral kites.
We had an amazing time making these kites. For each meeting we spent the first hour making a kite and then the second hour out int he field behind the school flying the kites and making modifications. It was such a great way to wrap up the first year of STEAM Club. The kids were able to spend a lot of time visiting and helping each other with their designs, we were able to have several discussions about the geometry, math, and physics involved in making the kites, making them better, and figuring out how high our kites were at a given time.
Rod and I went on to make kites with all kinds of folks in a variety of settings over the summer from educators and scientists at the Uteach conference in Austin to family groups at Alumni College at Miami. Kites are fun for everyone, the supplies are cheap, and there is a boatload of science and math you can discuss and investigate while flying kite.
We really adored working with this group of kids for our first foray into STEAM Club and look forward to seeing who joins next year and what projects we embark on together!