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Exploring Engineering with Hands-on Building Systems

Born on May 15, 1863: Frank Hornby, an inventor whose "toys" included Meccano, an engineering construction set of nuts, bolts, and strips of sheet metal. Hornby first devised the system for his children. When he moved on to mass produce Meccano, he marketed the product as "Mechanics Made Easy." Meccano sets, introduced for sale in 1902, resemble Erector sets, and today Meccano owns the Erector brand.

Whether beams and bolts or brick-based, toy building systems give kids (and tinkerers of all ages!) the chance to explore engineering, mechanics, and, today, even robotics. In the "Stair Master: Build an All-Terrain Robot" robotics Project Idea, students use LEGO® Mindstorms® to experiment with different kinds of wheel alternatives. Not every wheel suits every need. Identifying the challenge or problem is an important step in the engineering design process!

What does it take to build a successful all-terrain robot? The best way to find out and to test your theory about what will work is to put it to the test!


Making Science Connections

Our "today in Science History" posts make students, teachers, and parents aware of important discoveries and scientists in history and help connect science history to hands-on K-12 science exploration that students (and families) can do today. To follow along, join us at Facebook or at Google+. These frequent science history tidbits can be great for class, dinner, or car-ride discussion!

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A few year ago, Laura did a science project on bacteria and water bottles. Today, she is a finalist in a global challenge and encouraging other girls to get excited about STEM!

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You like your gelatin desserts solid and jiggly but not runny, right? A kitchen chemistry experiment reveals why certain gelatin and fruit combinations might appear at a potluck or picnic and not others. For this student and her family, the...

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Egg science comes over-easy this time of year. Whether you are boiling eggs, dyeing eggs, or both, there are easy questions you can ask with your kids to turn the activity into a hands-on science experiment that everyone will enjoy....

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This great guide and collection of family-friendly activities lets kids explore the history of robotics and put robotics engineering concepts to use with hands-on projects at home. Introduce Students to Robotics Engineering Robotics: DISCOVER THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF THE...

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School and family science weekly spotlight: floating eggs.

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There was no singular moment of Big Data Bang, but we are living in and heading towards a time of seemingly endless and exponential data explosion—and the race to create solutions and strategies to help tame, store, organize, and make...



Your Science!
What will you explore for your science project this year? What is your favorite classroom science activity? Email us a short (one to three sentences) summary of your science project or teaching tip. You might end up featured in an upcoming Science Buddies newsletter!


Help With Your Science Project

The following popular posts are designed to help students at critical stages of the science project process.


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