Letterbox Lab – Up in the Air

Letterbox Lab – Up in the Air

We have had a real STEM month this month with our STEM fair and other things and I thought I’d already shared details of box seven from Letterbox Lab but I realised I hadn’t!

We did this box at the beginning of this month and it brought with it the usual excitement and there’s a lot to go at in this box. This is a great box that I can see us using again in the future to explore some principles in more detail. Box 7 is all about air and cover four experiments. Our favourite was making the catapult and is something I think we might do again in the summer months outside as the children loved doing this. I might add a bit of interest by dipping the pompoms into poster paint and seeing what paint spatter patterns we can make by catapulting them toward the tuff spot. This is a great experiment to introduce the idea of variables – how does the distance travelled change when you increase the number of lollipop sticks used? It was also interesting to watch the children as they worked out the ways to manipulate the catapult better and aim it better.

Letterbox Lab Catapult

We then moved on to the ‘elasti copter’ which is something we will definitely be doing again in the future when they’re a bit older an can do this independently. You essentially make a helicopter using elastic bands and a small propeller. Using card and paper you make helicopters of varying sizes. You power the helicopter with the elastic bands and propellor and let it go – there’s a LOT to go at with this experiment in terms of trying different materials or thickness of paper and card to make it go. You’re also provided with a small and large template so you can assess the impact that the size of the helicopter has on the speed it falls. This was a really interesting experiment and the children loved this. It was great to introduce them to ideas like using different materials and recording how that changes the outcome.

The next two experiments, under pressure and gloveophone didn’t hold D and E’s attention as much as I had hoped – in part I suspect because they were still trying to catapult pom poms around the room! They were, however, a good lesson in why we experiment and how sometimes what we think might happen doesn’t always. This was an interesting one for me to do too and I did have to double check we hadn’t done something wrong!

We had great fun with this letterbox lab box and it lasted a good few hours and we, in fact, did this one over a couple of days. For slightly older children there is a lot that can be done with this one to really extend learning. It was great fun.

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1 Comment

  1. 24th March 2018 / 07:51

    looks ideal for me actually, never mind the children!

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