Thursday, August 9, 2012

Theory Thursday: Solar Robotics

Solar Robotics!? Yes, Sir/Ma'am! My young kids are doing solar robotics already. Well,... kinda.

Jake and I went to Maker Faire Detroit this past Saturday. That was a blast. Yes, there is a post coming on that. While we were at Maker Faire we visited the Maker Shed and picked up the 6-in-1 Solar Robotics Kit. This is a kit that contains two trees of plastic parts a tiny motor and a small solar panel. It brought me back to my model car days. Cutting all the pieces from the trees, trimming the excess stubs, and filing any piece that needs it. In this case I only filed the wheels for the car.

I took care of the minimal assembly of the gear box and the solar panel housing. Not a difficult task, but with the tiny wires on the motor and some other concerns I thought it was best that I did it.

After testing to see that all was working, it was time for the fun part. I called the kids into the kitchen again and we started building the six projects. We started with the solar puppy because it received the highest votes. Now, the box does say 10+ and I would say to stick with that if you are not helping. As long as I was telling them exactly where to put each piece all went well. Jake of course wanted to try and assemble the puppy by just looking at the picture, but that was not gonna work for him. In the end the puppy was assembled without a hitch. The pieces went to together beautifully.

Of course we couldn't stop with building just the puppy so we went on to build all of the projects. I did save one to assemble after they went to bed. Thus giving them something new to see in the morning.

So what did we learn, well... i didn't get to in depth with how the solar panel works. As I explained it to them the solar panel simply takes the light and converts it into electricity. Way over simplified but just right for three kids six and under. What they did figure out was that the closer, or stronger, the light got the faster the motor spun. In the end we learned something we can build on later and had fun doing it. Looks like a winner of a Theory Thursday!

Check the video below to see our solar puppy in action.

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1 comment:

  1. You saved one to surprise them in the morning . . . or was it because you just wanted to play??? Such a fun daddy!