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Engineering at Home With the Kids

The James Dyson Foundation has put a group of engineers together to create an array of fascinating science and engineering challenges for the kids (and adults) at home


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Many of you are in the engineering community. So you go to work each day and are involved in all manner of challenges in order to help create something that is effective, efficient, functional, affordable, and most of all, just gets the job done reliably and repeatedly.

Well, that tense in that second sentence isn’t right: it should be “So you went to work. . .”

Yes, here we are. At home.

And you may be at home with your kids. Who are getting a little restless.

So what’s a parent who is involved in engineering to do? (Or for that matter, what is any parent with kids who are looking for something to do beyond sitting in a room playing games?)

The James Dyson Foundation has an answer.

Actually, it has a suite of answers, as Dyson engineers have developed 44 engineering and science challenges that kids seven and up can make at home.

These challenges include things that you undoubtedly have around the house like eggs and balloons and glitter and. . . adult supervision.

Dyson balloon car

Build a ballon car. (Images: James Dyson Foundation)

Each of the challenge cards includes a description of what is being done; a list of the required materials; the instructions for accomplishing the task; an explanation of how this happens (this is engineering, after all, not magic); and a fun fact about the procedure.

Dyson challenge cards

Science and engineering—at home with the kids.

Did you know that you can measure the speed of light by putting a large chocolate bar in a microwave oven?

(And for those of you of a certain age, you might be interested in knowing that you can make a lava lamp with a water bottle, vegetable oil, food coloring, Alka-Seltzer tablets, water and a flashlight. After all, you’re at home, too.)

The James Dyson Foundation Challenge Cards can be found here.

(And if you know a teacher, you might share this.)

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