Monthly Archives: June 2011

Hacking Neil Downie – Day 3

Editor’s Note: Hacking Neil Downie is a week of experiments with the ideas and designs from Neil Downie’s brilliant and playful books on Saturday Science. When the kids in the group discovered that Neil is a real person who lives and works in England (and sometimes in Pennsylvania), they wondered why they couldn’t ask him their questions directly. In this blog, they will.

All week we will forward him their thoughts and questions.

Wednesday

Dear Neil Downie,

Thank you for your answer and your question. My rings floated while the pencil drew.

Parker

Editor’s Note: you can see the pencil and rings and Parker in Tuesday’s blog.

Dear Neil Downie,

This morning we made Dynabrollys. We watched Whirling Dervishes in Turkey. Almost as cool as your Dynabrollys. Some kids made Dervishes. I made a tower of waves.

Remy's Tower

Remy demonstrates his tower

 

Have you tried a hand-powered Dynabrolly? It’s fun. Like juggling.     Remy

Dear Neil Downie,

Today my group made Electric Dice.

(It’s a very clever trick).

I had 5 girls and 2 boys in my group. But over all, the class is 3 boys per 1 girl. In England, do girls take on your challenges?

Alex L.

Dear Neil Downie,

My group made Tornado Transisters today. It’s the best demonstration of a transistor that I’ve ever seen. (Well, I’m only 15.) My group really understood it even though they had never thought about how a transistor works. How did you get so good at so many parts of science?

Angus

Dear Neil Downie,

My day of battling the Duohelicon was not pretty. Now I see why you gave it 4 stars for difficult. Just 4? I’ll be better prepared tomorrow.

Sophia

 

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Hacking Neil Downie – Day 2

Editor’s Note: Hacking Neil Downie is a week of experiments with the ideas and designs from Neil Downie’s brilliant and playful books on Saturday Science.  When the kids in the group discovered that Neil is a real person who lives and works in England (and sometimes in Pennsylvania) they wondered why they couldn’t ask him their questions directly.  In this blog, they will.

All week we will forward him their thoughts and questions.

Tuesday

Dear Neil Downie,

Thank you for answering us and the special challenge.  We were able to make rings hover by hand.  We used an “eggbeater” drill and a wooden star to replace the motor.

It was definitely harder than the motor.

Parker and Hillary

Dear Neil Downie,

Could you even guess how many experiments you have tried?

Jacob

Dear Neil Downie,

Have you ever had an idea you just couldn’t make work…even though it should work? Many of my ideas are hard to make work.

Ben

Dear Neil Downie,

We made Vibrocrafts. We tried parts of scrub brushes, toothbrushes, plastic tabs, toothpicks, and even tongue depressors as “bristles”.

They all worked some. Can you think of bristles we missed?

Joshua

Dear Neil Downie,

My Vibrocraft went in a straight line, then turned in a small circle, then straight again, then a circle.  Of course it wouldn’t do it when we were filming.  Why would it change its dance and then change back?

Charlie

Dear Neil Downie,

My Hovering Rings stick drew with a pencil for you.

(Editor’s Note: The Vibrocraft served as the energy for the Hovering Rings.)

Parker

Dear Neil Downie,

Our Vibrocrafts painted a picture for you.

Monika and Apple

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Hacking Neil Downie – Day 1

Editor’s Note: Hacking Neil Downie is a week of experiments with the ideas and designs from Neil Downie’s brilliant and playful books on Saturday Science.

When the kids in the group discovered that Neil is a real person who lives and works in England (and sometimes in Pennsylvania) they wondered why they
couldn’t ask him their questions directly.  In this Blog, they will.
All week we will forward him their thoughts and questions.
Monday
Dear Neil Downie,
I am 10.  What was the  favorite experiment you did when you were 10?
Did you experiment a lot?
Noah L
Dear Neil Downie,
We built your Hovering Rings today.  Have you ever turned it upside down?
It works the same.  Cool.
It’s the first experiment in your book.  Is it your favorite?
Dear Neil Downie,
We have built the Flying Pullies before.
Today we built one that was hand cranked.
It works well but I like the motor one better.
You prefer the motor design too, don’t you.
Noah A and Joshua


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EWM on NPR

“Learning by Experiment”:  The Museum was featured on NPR today, in an article by Uma Ramiah.

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