This afternoon, I took time off from work to go in to my son’s preschool and help the kids build a “simple” marble roller coaster (using this video as my motivation) as part of a “simple tools” unit they’re working on. I showed up with a base and a screw-based elevator, and had the kids help me thread the tubes with wires, make holes in the tubes, and use screws to connect the tubes together and to the posts to make the track. After an hour or so and a lot of helping hands, we had the following simple loop built.
While I had originally hoped to build something a little more complete, the kids had a great time. Not only did they get to help build something fun, and learn other applications for a screw, for many of them it was the first time they got to work with actual screws and screwdrivers, and hammers and nails. I made sure that each one of the dozen (or so) students got a chance to help out and assemble parts of it. It was a lot of fun working with the kids and their enthusiasm. While I had to overcome my desire to make something perfect, the kids couldn’t get enough of it. They practically mobbed it in shifts afterwards:
Again, while it wasn’t perfect, it was pretty good for a relatively short window of time while having an overabundance of helping hands, and hopefully I was helping to inspire an interest in building things and “making” in general.
And now I’d love to take a little more time and build an even better one to keep here at home!