Friday, April 5, 2013

Teaching at Wisconsin Afterschool Conference

In a couple of weeks I will be teaching a class for the Wisconsin Afterschool Conference in Madison Wisconsin. This will be my second time teaching for the conference and this time it will be the project from my latest website article Foam Plate and Straw Gliders.  I think this should be an ideal afterschool activity because it is so inexpensive, doesn’t require special tools, and should be relatively safe. 

In addition to teaching the building and flying of the gliders I hope to demonstrate how a rather simple concept can be taken many directions.  For me the idea of foam gliders started at a slightly more complicated level with the Foam Jet II and then I tried to simplify the idea with additional glider designs. The HammerDown Catapult Glider was based on using a foam meat tray in the wing which eliminated joining so many foam sections together as was the case with the Foam Jet II.  Yet I wanted to build another foam glider that required less preparation and did not require a hot glue gun to assemble the pieces.
Foam Jet II Glider
Building Hammer Down Catapult Glider
Even with the idea of the foam plate and straw gliders I will take this another direction Thanks to a suggestion by Slater Harrison aka The ScienceToyMaker.  He suggested the planes would be more popular if they were powered by a rubber motor turning a propeller.  I took one of the glider planes and added the rubber power and it worked better than I imagined. It is my plan for the class to first build a glider and then convert it to rubber power.
Bill Kuhl

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