Spotty Blue Banana

Helping kids learn

Archive for the ‘engineering’ Category

LabTV – Science and Engineering Videos

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LabTV online by the National Defense Education Program (NDEP) has some interesting videos about science and engineering for older kids. There are over 50 videos from two seasons of webisodes, helping to capture kids’ imaginations and instill an interest in engineering.

FuseBox – Understanding electricity

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Vic Voltage is the cartoon character set to help primary or elementary school children around the Fusebox site about electricity and its history, using interactive flash games, activities and general information.

There are circuit boards to create using drag-and-drop components. You can see how three common electrical things work in the home. There’s a section on safety, which took me back to a public information film of the 70s. You can also play an electrically themed version of hangman.

The site is created by CE Electric UK who supply electricity to many homes in the UK, so they should know what they’re talking about.

Water Bottle Rocket

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A couple of years ago I saw a video that capture my interest in creating a water rocket to demonstrate how Newton’s Laws act, hence how a rocket works, and have a bit of fun in the process. Over the intervening period, I forgot about it again, until recently when I came across another example on a BBC television programme, Bang goes the theory (I’ll return to this in a later post).

The latter version of the rocket is somewhat simpler in design, and can easily be recreated.

The original example I now remembered was a bit more involved as a project, and takes a little longer to create. I dug out my early Make Magazines from the garage and found the instructions in there. You can also access them online.

1. Easier design

This is an informative page about the principles, and how to recreate the design with a video embedded.


2. More involved design

This design takes a little more time and effort, and leads to a more ‘explosive’ result.

These are the online instructions from the Make Magazine volume 5 that I’ve got. This is Steve Lodefink’s original design, and there is a video of Steve firing his rocket.

A later instructional video, by Kip Kay is less successful with the rocket, but gives you some pointers.


You can even have water rocket parties, where you get the kids to decorate their rocket how they want, before launching them, as demonstrated in this finkbuilt post.

How things work – Science videos

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I came across these videos when I was looking out how a trebuchet works (as I mentioned previously). These are a series of videos on YouTube presented by “Steve Jones an experienced mathematics and science teacher”. As you can see from the screenshot they cover nuclear energy, Richter scale, electricity generators, and a few others.


Written by markuos

July 29, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Hilaroad – science, engineering, electronic projects

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I came across this site accidentally (whilst investigating trebuchets I clicked a link and ended up there), and boy am I glad I did. The site is called and has lots of projects to try, with instructions and video. It look very good.


Written by markuos

July 28, 2009 at 7:09 pm