Circuit Science Kiwi Crate

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Travis’s Kiwi Crate has never been so welcome as during this period of home school and social distancing, particularly on a rainy day when we couldn’t get outside for a spring nature walk. The package literally saved the day! Sometimes Travis wants to spread out the projects, but this time he insisted we dive into the crate right away and do all three projects start to finish.

The big concept this month was electric circuits, which Travis has grown to understand recently from a few at-home projects, so I was glad the concept wasn’t foreign to him.

First up was the Lamp: A simple set-up involved attaching a lamp base and LED light holder onto a cardboard base, then inserting batteries into the provided battery pack. Travis connected red wire to red wire and black to black, and his lamp turned on!

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The second project, the Lampshade, was really the only “A” component of STEAM for this crate.

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Travis loved punching the holes along the lines of a Steve the Kiwi template, with a sheet of black paper underneath, since it was similar to punch art he does at school.

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The black paper then slips easily inside the lamp, and Steve glows!

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We put it all together with the Electric Bowler Game. This was definitely complicated, but Travis was determined to put together a circuit board that involved four brads against a wooden plate and wires that slip over the outer brads.

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He slotted the wooden frame together and held it all together with provided rubber bands.

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A wooden dowel in the middle is the switch to deactivate the circuit when needed. 3 silver balls then trigger the circuit; these need to be scuffed with scratchy pads first, although to our disappointment, the booklet did not explain why.

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To complete the game, a wooden board sits on top with a foam bumper. Take turns rolling the three metal balls towards the holes at the end. Once all three metal balls fall into place between the brads on the circuit board below, the circuit is complete, and the lantern turns on!

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Definitely play in a dim room, for the best effect.

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Travis enjoyed the Explore magazine that delved deeper, including an experiment called Let It Flow. What else could complete the circuit in our set-up, other than the three metal balls?

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Three plastic beads failed, as did three marbles. But three strips of aluminum foil did the trick!

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There was no suggested further reading this month, but I recommend Oscar and the Bird: A Book About Electricity.

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We also plan to check out I Am Benjamin Franklin when the title is released in October, as there’s sure to be some fun bits about electricity in there!

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