Tinker Crate is a subscription box that inspires kids to learn about science, engineering, and technology, all while having lots of fun. Each month, the box explores a field of study within a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) discipline. Kids practice their problem-solving skills and learn how to engage in both structured and open-ended exploration and investigation. Most boxes walk the tinkerers through the construction of fairly complex mechanical devices.
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This month, we are building our own GLOWING PENDULUM.
Everything arrives together in a single Tinker Crate – the supplies, a fold-out instruction sheet, and the Tinker Zine.
The main project is always a great hands-on activity and a great demonstration of the scientific principles featured in the box, but the Tinker Zine is full of well-written, historically and scientifically accurate background and explanatory materials. This where the lessons really take shape!
Tinker, Create, Innovate
KiwiCo equips the next generation of innovators with the tools and confidence for creative exploration and problem solving.
The Tinker Zine does a great job of explaining the technology and introducing it in a way that catches the interests of the kids. This issue started out by providing the summary of content inside!
This part of the magazine explains the Chaos Theory accidentally discovered by Sir Edward Lorenz. It shows us how simple rounding off numbers can lead to a very complicated effect. This one is a very interesting discovery!
Another page is all about the thrilling rides in amusement parks that use chaotic movements. It means that the slightest miscalculation may result in a totally different experience!
This sheet illustrates different simple ways of experiencing chaotic actions like the boiling of pasta, putting color on milk, and even baking!
Meanwhile, here’s some trivia about fluorescence and how they worked when hit by ultraviolet light. These pages also featured some animals and things that have natural fluorescence in them.
Each booklet also features a lot more suggested experiments that you can try, including the Invisible Ink and Glow Board Graffiti!
Tinker Crate Blueprint + Materials
The instructions and other essential project information are printed on a faux blueprint fold-out sheet.
This sheet also gives you a glimpse of how the end product would look like and the materials that you should expect inside the crate.
Here’s a detailed list of all the materials provided in the crate for the project! The only things we need from home are some heavy items.
Tinker Crate Activities
For this project, we used the following materials: glow board, soft and scratchy dots, pendulum arms, LED holder, UV LED, battery pack, bolts, brace, base bearing, arm bearing, string, washi tape, and harness piece. They also added some bonus items, including cotton swabs, craft stick, and citric acid.
This sheet comes with illustrations of all the materials needed for each portion of the assembly. It’s so helpful and really handy, especially for those complex builds.
Also, it has a lot of explanatory notes where they highlight those important and technical areas.
There’s also a part of the sheet where they will be asking you to stop, check, and test if you are doing things accordingly. They also provide some tips to solve the possible problem that may have occurred.
The first part of the project is building the glow board. We started by unfolding the glow board while sticking the white soft dots to flaps A and B.
There are just enough stickers for this project, so make sure that you place them carefully and properly.
Once done, you can now place the rest of the black scratchy dots on area A and area B.
After placing the stickers, we attached the brace at the back of the glow board using washi tape and made sure that the holes in the brace align perfectly with the holes in the stand.
The second phase of this project is assembling the LED arm, where we used the finished glow board, UV LED, LED holder, battery pack, medium arm, and bolts.
For the third phase, which is putting together the pendulum, we used brace, washi tape, base bearing, arm bearing, and long arm.
We also have here strings and harness pieces!
For our bonus items, we have here a pair of cotton swabs, a craft stick, and citric acid.
In assembling the LED arm, screw the bolt into the threaded hole and tighten it to hold the LED legs and arm in place so they won’t easily wiggle.
To check, turn off the lights or go to a dark room, then test your LED by shining it closely to your glow board.
You’ll know you made it right when the beam leaves a trace of glowing path as you move the light across the board.
Here’s a random light movement we made, and as we move the light quickly, the board perfectly reflects the part where the light was beamed.
We tried a quicker movement, and it still glows as expected!
We also tried placing things above the board and check if it still reflects.
Aside from the base bearing, we even put a rubber, coins, tape, unused arms, and even my son’s right hand on top of it.
We turn off the light, and as anticipated the board perfectly traced all the figures placed on top and glows on the rest of the area.
Using the citric acid mix and cotton swabs, you create a secret message by simply dipping the swabs on the mixture and write your secret message on the board.
Here’s the secret message my son made!
We really had a great time with these projects!
Tinker Crate Extensions
The Zine also provided more ways to tinker via the Tinker Library, where they suggest related literature for this month’s topic: The Game of Shadows, The Game in the Dark, and Chaos: Making a New Science.
Tinker Crate is as amazing as always! They’ve been quite consistent in providing great STEM activities which will not just challenge your kids, but also enhance their creativity and further improve their problem-solving skills. This month’s pendulum activity was a hit with the kids, they really had a lot of fun working on it, especially the invisible ink where they can write their secret messages. If you are seeking an activity that will further develop your kids especially in the STEM area, this is one of the best subscriptions to try!
Have you tried Tinker Crate yet with your kids?