The Wow it Works program is an enrichment program for kids . The Wow it works program is NOT an ordinary enrichment program that you find locally in Singapore . It is more than just a Science enrichment program .
Kids are naturally curious . They love to take things apart and to find out how things work . As they are growing up , they want to learn more about the world around them – the mysterious sun that goes hiding at night , the wind that they cannot see but can feel as she blows on the face , the airplanes that are so huge and yet can fly . They are so magical but yet , amazing and fascinating to our kids .
Wow it works | Help kids discover
The WOW it WORKS program is specially tailored to help kids learn about the world around them and to encourage them to discover how things work . The process of learning is to really getting the kids to apply what they have learned by designing and building models so that they can physically see and experience what works and what did not work (and why) . The wow it works program gives kids the opportunity to design , construct and think , with guidance from the trainers .
Wow it works | What is the program about ?
In Summary , the Wow It WORKS program is about
- having fun . Infact lots of fun
- Letting kids learn through the process of discovery how things work
- Applying what they have learned by designing and building useful models
- Gives kids the opportunity to design , construct and think
- Design and build models that actually works
- allowing kids to play with their own built models and other kids
- interacting and socializing with others in teams
Wow it works | Why this title ?
We specifically choose “wow it works” as a title as it has the following meaning . The “Wow” signify excitement in kids . Its a strong feeling of expression . Amazement . The “It Works” simply means the design and construction of physical models by kids that actually works . The entire process of eventually trying something and getting a physical model to work helps to
- bring a sense of accomplishment
- build self confidence
- show others that they (kids) “can do it” too
- Demonstrate “mastery”
- physically SEE and BELIEVE in their own abilities of what they (kids) can do
For us as teachers , trainers and course developer , that smile on kids faces brings a lot of joy , not just for the kids , but us as well . So contact us to find out more about the wow it works program
Here is another school project from Wow it works , miniature kites …
Kites | Miniature Kites
In the olden days , traditional kites are made using bamboo sticks and rice paper. Thread is used to form the basic shape of the kite . Nowadays , it is very difficult to find bamboo sticks and you can’t find rice paper anymore . However tracing paper can still do the job but not as well as rice paper .
This is how thread is used to form the basic shape of any kite .
I used a bamboo stick (from my favourite $2.00 shop Daiso) as the spine and a thin carbon rod from a hobby shop as the spar .
Miniature Kites | For Kids
As my project involved kids below the age of 12 , getting kids to tie the thread to form the basic shape of a kite would be a real challenge . So , we explore easier alternatives for kids and since we made use of foam for our walk along glider , we might as well adopt and borrow certain ideas from our past projects .
So here we come up with an idea for our very own miniature kites , just using just foam and tapes . The miniature kite has a wing span of less than 20cm and it does not need strong wind to fly the kite . It can be flown indoor . The beauty of these miniature kites using foam is that kids still can design whatever kite shapes they want easily . We let kids design their own kites . However , foam alone is not enough to build a kite . A kite unlike the walk along glider needs a frame because it needs to withstand the stronger wind .
Note that we used carbon rod as spars and a yakult straw for the spine . No thread , but tapes to keep the spine and spar in its position
Miniature Kites | School project
We will still need to use a needle and thread to form the bridle
Now that its done , try to fly the miniature kite . One will soon realise that the miniature kite is very unstable . It tend to turn and just won’t fly . Now we need to attach a tail to the end of both wings to provide stability to the miniature kites . Cut a 2x40cm long paper , best from newspaper , about 0.5cm in width and attached to the end of both wing .
Now try to fly the miniature kites again … It should be much stable now . Enjoy the miniature kites
WOW It WORKS introducing “Walk Along Glider ” to Anderson primary School , GAIA Club members .
Walk Along Glider | The basic theory of flight
Demonstrating the 4 basic forces at work – Gravity , Lift , Thrust and Drag to children . But what happens when the centre of Gravity or mass is offsetted ? Well a piece of paper with a 5 cent coin taped to the edge of the paper will not fall vertically downwards !!
Walk along Glider | How does it work ?
Not only does children get as chance to understand how thrust is created through the board onto the walk along glider but they will learn about
- how shifting of centre of gravity or mass affects flight
- the use of ailerons of the glider
- Stalling and nose-diving of glider
Children gets a chance to work in teams , show off their work and create their own wing designs
Walk along glider | Learning is fun
At the end of the walk along glider project , children
- learn about the 4 basic forces – gravity , lift , thrust and drag
- learn about stalling and nose diving of glider
- learn how to optimize flight of the glider via shifting the centre of gravity and the use of ailerons
- having lots of fun
Well , we can build an ironman arc reactor with infinity mirrors !!
Here it is , Tony Stark has a heart …… this is his HEART …. the IRONMAN ARC REACTOR
Ironman Arc reactor | Materials required
We will need the following parts to build the Ironman Arc Reactor
- LED bulbs (1.5V ~ 3.0V Battery powered)
- Battery holder
- Highly reflective solar film
- Tube (I used the tubes meant for fish pump)
- Round Mirror x 2
- An empty can drink
- Copper cables or wires
For the round mirror , we need to remove the reflective mirror coating . To do this , I first use a toilet cleaner to remove the layer of paint . Once the paint is removed , we will need to remove the silver coating . To remove the silver coating , I use the dish washing cleaner JIF or CIF (renamed ) . Once the silver is removed removed , you will get clear glass . Put the solar film coating onto the round glass
Next , we will need to remove the 2 ends of an empty can drink . Be careful when using a cutter to do this . Poke 8 holes for the 8 LEDS onto the empty can drink . Then insert the 8 LEDS .
With the rubber tubing used for the fish pump , tape the 2 ends to make a circle . The circle should be just of the right diameter that will fit the inside of the empty can drink . Then wound up some copper cables onto the round tubing . I made 8 sets of these for the 8 leds .
On one end of the empty can , mount the round mirror . On the other end , mount the round glass with solar film . Make sure that the reflective end is facing opposite the mirror . Then turn on the LEDS .
Ironman Arc reactor | prototype 2
In this ironman arc reactor i use red blinking LEDS bought from the SGD$2.00 shop , Daiso . I replace the can drink with a container that i manage to source from Daiso too for SGD$2.00 . The good thing about the container is that on the top cover , it has a clear plastic which i can easily use to mount the reflective solar film . One of the mirror will just sit inside the container . We will need to drill a tiny hole on the container for the LEDS wires to be connected outside the container , to the batteries .
Ironman arc reactor | Improvements
Now what can we do to further improve the existing ironman arc reactor . One thing is certain , the shiny empty container does a much better job in reflecting the LED lights . Notice that the copper coils was hardly visible in the second prototype . Also the blinking LED lights was relatively fast , so much so that one does not get to enjoy the entire appearance of the arc reactor when it was ON . Now there are many surface mount LED strips that we can get from the local stores . They sell them by meters at about SGD$16.00 per meter . Some come with controller too so that we can control the colour of the LEDS lights and the combination of the colours . The controller can be relatively cheap , sometimes under SGD$5.00 a piece . The only problem is that such strips LEDS require a larger voltage to operate , mostly at 12V , but they are much brighter and the effect better !!
So enjoy making your Ironman Arc reactor from Wow it WORKS !!
The Infinity mirrors uses light and one of the properties of light is that it can be reflected when light falls on an object . We see this same phenomenon when we sometimes get into a lift surrounded by mirrors .
Infinity Mirrors | Material required
To make infinity mirrors , we will need the following
- 2 glasses (square or rectangle)
- Reflective Solar films
- LEDS & batteries
- ON/OFF switch
We will need to mount the reflective solar films onto the 2 glasses . The solar film should one that is highly reflective type , very much like a mirror . So literally one side of the film acts like a mirror which the other allows one to see through . This is very much like a police investigation room that one gets to see on TV where the cops can see the suspect under investigation through a window . But the suspect can’t see the cops looking at him through the windows .
The container is to house the entire setup . We need to paint the inside of the container black allowing only the LEDS to light up . Without getting the inside of the container , there will be a lot of reflections .
Infinity Mirrors | Setup and results
This is how the setup is done . We have 4 different coloured LEDS between the 2 glass mirrors . The batteries and switch are mounted at the back of the container .
Here are the results . The effects are better with brighter LEDS and shorter distance between the 2 glass mirrors
This is part 2 of the Ornithopter project . In part 1 , we managed to build a flapping wing ornithopter using straws , foams , wires and tapes . The ornithopter could not achieve flight though . We identified the problems and continue to work to improve the ornithopter in part 2 . And this is the report for part 2 . And yes , we manage to get little “ORNY” flying .. well a good few seconds of flight !! Its a lot better than previous . Tough project though , but we made it !!
Ornithopter | The problems in part 1
In part 1 we identified 2 major problems . Though we very much wanted to use recycled material , but to get a flying ornithopter , we have to get the right material in order to achieve flight . So here is the list of problems we had earlier on part 1 and the recommendations or solutions that we have in part 2 of this ornithopter project
- Straws . They are just not strong enough though we used tougher straws from Yakult , the Japanese probiotic milk drink products . With normal household rubberbands , the straws bend under severe stress when we wound up the rubberbands . So we have to explore balsa wood which we did . We use different dimension balsa wood for different areas of the ornithopter .
- Household rubberbands . They are not thick enough and therefore may not be able to provide sufficient force to turn the crank and to move the “wings” of the ornithopter . Some hobby shops do sell special rubberbands but those that we used , we have to trim the thickness of the rubberbands by half. Alternatively , we can also source rubberbands used on trousers .
Ornithopter | Parts , material and dimensions
Here is the list of parts and their dimensions used on part 2 of the ornithopter .
Ornithopter | The problems in part 2
As we start to build a flying ornithopter , more problems surface . Here are some of them
- Choice of glue . Putting the balsa wood together was tough as not only was the wood thin with small surface area , it also has to withstand the stresses imposed by the rubberbands and also the crashes . So choose a glue that is strong enough that can hold the wood together . In our case , we also had aluminium tubing , used for the crank , that we need to stick onto the balsa wood . So type of glue used is important .
- Balsa wood . We use balsa wood because it is light and stronger than straws . We have to use different dimension balsa wood though . For the motor shaft , its needs to be thicker for its needs to withstand the stress caused by the wound up rubberband . The front connector is thicker to allow more surface area to glue and to secure the aluminium tubing . The wing spars balsa wood are specially selected to be as light as possible but present enough area to stick the foam onto it . As for the back connector , we tried a design without this back connector to save some weight , but with the wings mounted onto the top wing shaft , the wing shaft just could not take the stress alone . So we had to have this back connector to spread the stress .
- Rubberbands. Household bands will not do and to create sufficient force to move the crank and the wings , the rubberbands needs to be thicker . But thicker rubberband may not allow us to wind many turns and in our design , it allows a maximum of about 30 turns . This means that the ornithopter will have a very short flight duration lasting less than 30 flaps . More than 30 turns , the balsa wood and the aluminium tubing holding the crank would experience severe stress
- Wing flaps . We taped and glued different types of plastic , paper and foam thickness onto the wing spars to create the wing flaps . Foam of 0.7mm thickness was best because it can retain the shape and form of the wings better than any other material . A 1.0mm foam was simply too tight for the ornithopter and does not allow the crank to turn freely . It is very important to ensure that the wing flaps is not stressed too tightly especially during the downward movement
- Wing root . There are 2 ways to secure the wing root . Its either at the top or at the sides of the wing top shaft . We prefer securing the wing root using Yakult straws at the side so that the “Z” shaped wire does not interfere and damaged the foam during flight . This also allows us to glue the entire middle section of the wing flap onto the top wing shift .
- Aluminium tubing and the metal wire crank . We choose aluminium for the tubing for it is light . Plastic tubing may not last as it will be constantly being rubbed by the metal crank . This aluminium tubing is a important piece of the ornithopter because the crank at one end will be pulled by the rubberband leaving the “bend” area of the crank rotating and rubbing against the tubing . If there is a lot of friction in this area , then the crank will not turn smoothly . It is a good practice to add some lubrication to this area to allow the smoother turning of the crank . Also maintain parallel or perpendicular of the crank relative to the other areas of the ornithopter to minimise stress build up . The crank is also the area that will be easily bend due to crashes or head on collisions experienced by the ornithopter .
- Conrods . The conrods dimensions are dependent very much on the 2 metal Z-shaped wires “bend length” of the crank and the wings spars . In our case , we find that 1.5cm and 2.0cm works well and the conrod must be able to prop the wings up , above its horizontal wing top shaft
Ornithopter | how to achieve longer flight ?
To achieve longer flight duration , we will need a longer rubber band and therefore a longer motor shaft . This means more back weight added to the ornithopter . We will also need to increase the wing span to create more lift but we need to ensure that the rubber band is able to propel the wings sufficiently . What this means is that we need to ensure that the ornithopter is able to create sufficient lift over its entire weight .
Ornithopter | What else needs improvement ?
We certainly would like to add a rudder so that the ornithopter can achieve a straight line flight . We believe that we need to improve the wing design by having a sturdy structure to shape the wings . Well , that’s about it for the ornithopter for the time being !!
This is our first attempt to design and build an Ornithopter . But first , what exactly in an Ornithopter ? Well an ornithopter is any machine that mimic the flying mechanism of birds by flapping its wings . Ornithopter derives it name from the Greeks (from Greek ornithos “bird” and pteron “wing”) . Guess who was also fascinated by bird flight ? Yes , Leonardo Da Vinci was also a great fan of this flapping wing machine way back in the 15th century
Ornithopter | What material do we use
Most people would use balsa wood , but we will use straws to build our models instead . It is important to understand the design and mechanical constraints using models before we build one that can fly . So for our first model , the material needed will be
- Galvanised wires
Ornithopter | Observation and findings
Now we will need to build a bigger model to see things clearer . Since we know from the small model , things aren’t exactly symmetrical and this could pose severe challenges to the final design of a flying ornithopter .Here we focus on the turning radius and its impact to the flapping action of the wings
It seems that the smaller the radius , the smoother the flapping actions . With a larger radius , from the videos below , note how furious is the downward wing movement . It probably can create a lot more lift with such forceful downward movement but being a larger radius would also mean less symmetry , leading to more problems with balancing and flight . So we will need to strike a good balance between these 2 conflicting parameters .
Ornithopter | Design and assembly
In this design , we connect the conrods directly to the wing spars . This makes the design simpler and require less mechanical parts , unlike the previous design . This will also make the ornithopter more efficient . We still make use of straws , foams , galvanized wires and tapes for our models . Now the ornithopter is completed , with a wing and a tail added to it . Note that it is not symmetry in nature due to the V-shape conrods and the circular crankshaft assembly .
To reduce the degree of non symmetry , we use thinner straws , those that we get from Yakult drinks for kids . We added some beads at critical areas to reduce stress build up and a smaller diameter galvanized wire thickness
Ornithopter | what else is needed ?
The current ornithopter will not be able to fly . There are 2 major obstacles that we need to overcome . First is the speed of the flapping wings powered by the rubber bands . The addition of the foam wing reduced the flapping wing speed tremendously , due to its added weight and stress . Second is getting the ornithopter to glide due to the imbalanced in its construction and design . So though we have some ideas how an ornithopter works , we still have a long way to go to get a flying ornithopter up in the air
The wow it works balanced robot is actually a continuation of “balance and motion” . In the case of balance and motion, we did not manage to perform the balancing act on a pulley , because we had problems sourcing for a small pulley . This time we managed to locate a reasonable small pulley , and therefore we try to complete what we did not achieve the last time . So here it is
Balanced robot | using a clothespin
Before we do the balanced robot , we tried using a clothespin because it is very simple to balance it on a thin thread . We can always decorate the clothespin with a head and arms , since we already have the 2 legs resting and balancing on a thread
Wow it works | balanced robot on a pulley
Here is a balanced robot using a toilet paper roll on a pulley . Unlike the clothespin , note that we only make use of 1 balancer for this robot .
Here is our R2D2 balanced robot from wow it works . Not quite like R2D2 yet but soon . Noticed how the thread is balanced on the pulley .
Here is the video with the balanced robot sliding down a thin thread . Next time we will make the robot slide down a hard wire which we can bend left and right , up and down . So maybe next time we will get to see
Wow it works | Simple balanced robot
In a nutshell , it is very simple to achieve balance . As long as the center of gravity or mass is below the pivot point or fulcrum , the object should easily maintain its balance . So here it is , balanced robot from wow it works …
This is the third enhancement to the Gravity robot by Wow it Works . The outcome of the Rochester event identify certain areas of improvement for the gravity robot
Gravity robot | New suit and shoes
Other than giving a “face” to the robot , this time we added a suit and shoes . Well its more colourful now but kids will have more work to do if they wanted to decorate their gravity robots as well . The “face” and “suit” provides better balancing to the overall gravity robot
Wow it works had its first event at Rochester Mall on 21st December 2012 . Most people may not know where is Rochester mall but its at Buona Vista , Singapore .