Engineering design challenge: Blooming flower
Courtesy of: Engineers Nova Scotia
In this design challenge, participants will make a flower that opens using a reel mechanism. A reel is a mechanism that uses a rotating cylinder to wind up or release something. Fishing rods often have a reel to release and pull in fish, and garden hoses can be kept tidy by winding them up on a reel. Even yoyos are reels! Ask participants to think about how they can use this as a way to open and close their flower and attract pollinators.
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In this design challenge, participants will make a flower that opens using a reel mechanism.
- Straws (small)
- Straws (large)
Through this activity, participants will learn about pulleys and simple machines. Have participants think up some simple machines or provide examples.
- Distribute a sheet of paper to each participant. Have them fold it into quarters and cut out a flower petal with a long stem. Demonstrate this for them and then have them use scissors to do the cutting.
- Cut equal lengths of string (you may want to precut these before participants arrive), one for each petal.
- Tape the string to the center of the petal near the top.
- Cut the small straws into smaller sections.
- Tape each of the petals to a small straw section on the same side as the string.
- Slide the string into the small straw.
- Tape the small straws to a larger straw.
- Using a piece of smaller straw, tape the ends of the strings to this piece.
- Wrap the string around the straw and demonstrate the flower blossoming.
- If extra time, allow them to decorate their flowers with markers and stickers.