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Dartmouth professor names 5 fun, creative stocking stuffers
First on her list is duct tape. May said she likes to keep duct tape on hand in her house for her children Spencer, 9, and Elsa, 8, for their projects. Today duct tape comes in a wide range of fun colors and has the ability to bind almost anything children can think of.
Include a few empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls to get them started to create and build something, she said.
Next on May's list is a simple solar cooker made out of aluminum foil to learn about solar energy. Include ingredients to bake something like sun s'mores. When working with middle school students, May used these solar cookers to bake brownies and cook hot dogs, she said. You can learn more about the solar cooker at http://climatekids.nasa.gov/smores.
"It's not unlike Legos, but I find my daughter likes Popsicle sticks and glue guns more than Legos," May said.
For instructions go to http://makezine.com/projects/make-34/coffee-bots.
These ideas inspire creativity and encourage inquiry-based learning that makes for a strong foundation in engineering at a young age, May said. "It's fun connecting and building something," she said. "It teaches spatial reasoning. It teaches them how to make things, how to connect things, which you need as an engineer. They have to figure it out. It's not deep engineering, but it's a start."
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