Sunday, August 25, 2013

STEM Day at Minnesota State Fair - What I Learned

I had the wonderful opportunity to display my science projects at the Minnesota State Fair for STEM Day this year in the afternoon. This gave me some time in the morning to observe what many of the other participants were doing. It gave me so many ideas to try at another venue sometime in the future. There are so many more ideas than those I will describe here but the following are somewhat related to what I am doing.


Several of the booths were doing aviation related activities. The Childrens Museum of Duluth had two really cool paper plane launchers that looked like a mini runway. I have seen where similar launchers can be purchased but these were custom made and really shot the paper plane very fast every time.

At another booth had you build a glider that consisted of two paper circles joined by a plastic straw. The person that had me build the glider did such a good job of making me think about how it might work while testing and asking what I knew of simple aerodynamics. With the glider completed then the object was to throw it through a Hula Hoop, not so easy.

Kids were building gliders from straws and card stock at another booth also. They had other cool activities going on also.

Then there was the Flying Gizmo Airshow which I was able to watch the first part of but then had to get my booth ready. The gentleman doing the show did such a wonderful job of getting audience participation by asking questions and bringing kids on the stage to fly the gizmo's. He started out asking what was the very first thing to fly? It was insects and he used the radio controlled dragonfly to demonstrate this, I had used the same dragonfly in my Pioneers of Aviation Demonstration. The young lady that had a chance to fly it had the dragon fly almost hit me sitting in the crowd. Luckily I got a video clip of that. For the next part of the demonstration an ornithopter that looks like a bird was used, I might have to buy one of those.

Not related to flight was a device to test how steady you could move a wand with a loop at the end over copper tubing that had bends in it. This was not easy and when you touched the tubing a light would come on. If I build something like this I might use a buzzer instead of a light.

It really was a great day and I will share some thoughts I had about my booth in another blog post. There was another neat trick where you would try to float a paperclip on a glass of water, I need to check that out too.

Blog Post on Ornithopters

Bill Kuhl

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