Jan 24, 2014

Wonderworks: Kitchen Engineering

Two simple ingredients can make fantastic structures!

Today's Topic: Building with Grapes and Toothpicks

cover art Henry builds a cabin / Johnson, D. B.
cover art Raise the roof! / Suen, Anastasia
cover art Sing as we go! [sound recording] / Hope, Charlie

Inspired by: The Artful Parent

What Kids Do: 
This lesson was presented simply:  Here are grapes.  Here are toothpicks.  I wonder what you can build using these?

Everyone seemed to start off with this basic form:
 "This is an airplane!"
 I liked the numeric progression here:
 Then it started getting creative:
 This artist seemed to want to see how many toothpicks could be stuck into one grape:

 "Look! It's a person!"
 [nom nom nom]
 "I'm building a fence!"

 "It's the letter 'Z'!"
 "I made a boat!"
 I think this one is also a person?
 One of the older siblings in the group had a grand time making this four-story structure:

 Her mom had fun building too!
 I love how this project was just as irresistible to the adults as it was to the kids.
 And.... then of course, my big fan of the building blocks had to explore his favorite engineering medium for a bit...
What an amazing display of creativity I saw this week!  I wasn't sure what to expect, but the variety of types of structures (2D, 3D, representational, abstract...) astounded me.  I hope it inspired you to look around your kitchen to see what other simple materials could be built with.

Adult Challenge of the week:  Encourage your child to try out their own ideas.

Hindsight Tip:  It was a bit sad to throw out all those grapes and toothpicks at the end, but I'm fairly certain they weren't very healthy to eat after all the little fingers (and sneezing and coughing) that touched them.  I was glad that I'd purchased a package of grapes for EACH class session as I would have felt bad giving the second class the leftovers.  Not sure what to do about the waste in a public setting like this, but at home, I would have just eaten all of them for a snack.

 Variations to try: 
toothpicks + gumdrops, toothpicks + marshmallows, uncooked spaghetti + marshmallows, toothpicks + strawberries?  whatever's in season and is slightly firm.... (apples + skewers?)

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea! I could see my teens getting into this with marshmallows, especially if they got to eat them afterwards


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