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Make something that rolls

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The Museum’s YouthALIVE program visits MAKESHOP once a month.  YouthALIVE is an after-school program of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.  The group is made up of middle school students from a school across the street.  Lately, we’ve been giving the students a challenge to complete.  This week, we asked them to create something that rolls.  The students had three days to complete the challenge. We provided them pieces of foam, different sized wheels, tape, and lots of recycled materials.  The students were free to use their imagination to create anything they wanted. We emphasized the importance of the design process and asked students to brainstorm, make, test, and reiterate.

We also built a simple ramp for the students to test out their creations.  We really wanted them to try things out and make adjustments accordingly.  The kids had three days to work on their vehicles.  Some of the cars stayed the same while some changed dramatically.  There was car that was simply two wheels glued together.  There was a car in the shape of a rhino.  There was even a car with ten wheels!

This was a really fun activity for the YouthALIVE students.  It is nice to have them visit three days in a row so that they can really get invested in their work.  It is important to take time when you are making something. There is no need to rush.  It is also a good idea, when working with middle school students, to give them a challenge or some kind of focus.  This helps them get into the making process much easier.

-Kevin

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