Elementary

Computer Science (X) - Elementary (X) - Zoom (X)

Balloon Brain: Designing a Helmet

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As humans, we thankfully have more going for us than the balloon brains depicted in this video segment adapted from ZOOM. Still, the failed efforts of some of the ZOOM cast members to design adequate protection for their balloon brains illustrates the importance of wearing a proper helmet and protecting your own brain whenever you skate, rollerblade, ski, or ride a bike.

Triangles: Designing a Newspaper Chair

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Once it's been read, there's often little more to do with the daily newspaper than to add it to that towering stack of recyclables we collect each week. In this video segment, however, the ZOOM cast demonstrates how innovative design can turn this otherwise flimsy material into a relatively solid piece of furniture.

Kid Inventor: The Collapsible Lacrosse Stick

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Many inventions are born of a need to be able to easily store or transport an item without negatively affecting its intended function. In this video segment from ZOOM, a young inventor named Lauren explains the motivation behind her collapsible lacrosse stick.

Cooking Cookies with Solar Power

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The ZOOM cast tests two homemade solar cookers to determine which one can cook a "s'more" faster. Both designs exploit the fact that heat flows in three ways: by conduction, convection, and radiation. Though one cooker performs better than the other, they both outperform the experiment's control setup.

Columns: Hillary's Neighborhood

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In this video segment from ZOOM, Hillary, from Randolph, MA, proves she knows a thing or two about columns. She identifies their structural components, explains how and where they are used, and encourages viewers to look around their own communities for columns. If they're anything like her town, columns are everywhere!

Kid Inventor: Tennis Ball Picker-Upper

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The tennis ball picker-upper featured in this video segment from ZOOM is a very simple yet clever invention. Its young inventor explains what inspired him to create it and then takes viewers step-by-step through its construction. The video effectively demonstrates many of the steps of the engineering design process: identify a problem, need, or want; brainstorm; design a solution; then build the device, test it, and refine it as needed.

Kid Inventor: Newspaper Crank

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In this video segment from ZOOM, a young inventor named Andrew demonstrates the machine he engineered to fold newspapers for his paper route. Turning a crank handle puts the first fold in a paper, and sliding a wooden shelf makes the second fold. Once the paper is folded this way, Andrew can easily slip a rubber band over it and go about his deliveries quickly and efficiently.

Columns: Finding the Strongest Shape

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The shapes of a structure and its parts are often as important as the materials those parts are made of. In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, members of the cast bend and fold sheets of paper to see which shape is strongest and can best support the weight of a heavy book. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grade K-8 students.

Designing a Puff Mobile

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If you were to build a vehicle powered by your breath, what characteristics would increase or decrease its performance the most? In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, four cast members design, construct, and test a variety of puff mobiles.

Visiting a Recycling Plant

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About half of the paper we use in our daily lives has been recycled. The process begins when paper is picked up from a recycling bin and taken to a sorting facility, where items are separated and baled. The materials are then taken away to a facility where they are cleaned, possibly de-inked, shredded, and blended with other similar material, such as paper board, office paper, or newspaper. The batched material is then converted into a new end product. In this video segment from ZOOM, a cast member visits a material recovery center to watch this process unfold.

Air Power: Making a Hovercraft

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The hovercraft was originally developed to more efficiently transport passengers and freight over water and land. In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, cast members build a simple hovercraft. A balloon filled with air provides the airflow that lifts a plastic plate off the table, while cast members supply the push that propels the craft forward.

Triangles: Testing the Strength of a Gumdrop Dome

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In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, cast members construct simple structures based on the light-but-strong design of the geodesic dome using gumdrops and toothpicks. These gumdrop domes help demonstrate that some shapes, like triangles, are inherently strong while others, like squares, are comparatively weak.

Kid Designer: A Comfortable Cardboard Chair

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Many people have never attempted to build their own furniture because they feel it would be too difficult or too expensive to make anything worthwhile. In this video segment from ZOOM, a yound designer named Nick demonstrates his process for designing and constructing attractive, sturdy chairs from cardboard.

Building Simple Machines: Plant Quencher

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How difficult can it be to water a plant? Pretty difficult when your objective is to build the most complicated machine possible to complete this simple task. In this video segment from ZOOM, Jillian demonstrates the use of ramps, wheels, pulleys, and other simple machines to construct her "plant quencher."

Kid Inventor: The Couch Protector

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Electricity has been a powerful force in the hands and minds of inventors. Tired of constantly chasing his dogs off of the couch, Jason put electricity to one of its latest uses, in a "couch protector." In this video segment from ZOOM, Jason describes the conception and design of his imaginative device.

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