Engineer with Water

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Children’s museums are closed for coronavirus, so today we recreated one of Travis’s favorite exhibits here at home! The museum version involves a large base where kids can dam water with Duplo pieces. We recreated that on a smaller scale with Legos!

Ideally you’ll need one of the large Lego baseplates for this project. Technically it would work on any small Lego base, too, but your results will be in miniature.

First we built a high wall of interlocking bricks so our baseplate could stand upright. Attach this to your Lego base with any Lego hinges.

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Next Travis began adding paths for the water. On the first round, I gave him no guidance and he designed a very complicated set of Legos that were vertical and horizontal and all over the place. He thought he was being tricky leaving tall openings.

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We set the whole apparatus in a shallow tray and poured in a cup of water. Of course it pretty much ran straight down over everything.

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After we poured, he realized that he needed to be much more deliberate in his placement. We removed any vertical Legos except those on the very edges, and soon had horizontal walls. He loved the idea that we were “tricking” the water.

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To visualize our results, we added small red Lego pieces that could run through this “maze”. You could also use glitter or any other tiny object for this part. Now he could really see the flow of water. Check it out!

Then he wanted to try blocking the water entirely. It sort of worked, although his walls  needed to be higher to truly block any flow.

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There are so many ways to play with variations on this, and your child will be engineering all the while!

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