School Programs

Eli Whitney Museum

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Measure Mobile

Sand, assemble and decorate the wheels, axles, chassis and driver of a wooden downhill racer. Then experiment. Measure the distance it travels from the end of its track. Change the pitch of the track and measure again. Change the weight of the car and measure again. An intro to numbers as the voice of science.

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House of Straw, Sticks or Bricks

Construct a basic shelter. Choose walls and roof. Consider what materials are available where. Build a family. Consider the problems your walls will protect them from: rain, snow, heat, fire, winds, floods, mice, bugs or wolves.

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Balancing Circus

The Circus explores the art and science of balance, forces, center or gravity and performance. Conceived with a nod to artist /engineer Sandy Calder, each circus tests classic experiments at work. Expands STC curriculum.

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Block Heads

We build to discover ourselves. Common arms, legs, heads and feet can be shaped, assembled and decorated to create the infinite variety that we are. Blockheads can tell stories, reenact history, represent heroes, display the costumes of distant lands or unleash imagination. A universal tool for learning.

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Simple Machines

Whitney demonstrated the power of machines to guide and ease work. The screws, threads, levers and pulleys of this machine organize effort into power you can feel. Students assemble interchangeable parts and invent a personality for their machine.

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Pinball Machine

A popular project that teaches game design (beginnings, middles and ends), logic (rewards for difficulty), marble movement (caroms, momentum) and creative design (good games must still attract players.) A rare exploration of the work of play.

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Electromagnet

Understand electricity through the same experiments that early scientists used. Wind a coil of wire. Suspend a bar magnet in it. Charge the coil with a battery to spin the magnet. Test polarity. Discover the origins of motors and Morse Code.

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Life Stages - Plants or Animals

Each living thing goes through stages of development. Construct a small theater with scenes that change to present the growth cycle of plants or animals. We offer materials to study typically pumpkins or butterflies. With a design flexible enough for teachers and students to go back to their classes and present another life cycle on the reverse side of each stage block.

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Weather Man

It doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows…to paraphrase a favorite songwriter, but it does take some learning and some practice to understand the 4 cardinal directions, N, E, S,W and how the direction of the wind affects our weather.

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Sustainable House

Construct a birdhouse of sustainably harvested pine and re-used plywood. Learn the measurements of adapting house to species. Learn to site house for temperature and security. Learn annual recycling. Learn sensible building choices for birds (and people) Or a birdfeeder.

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Magnetic Pendulum

All creatures live in a web of resources that support or suppress their growth. Create a dynamic model of an insect’s or bird’s world. Suspend a magnetized creature on a pendulum. Add food and shelter (with magnets) that attract the creature and predators and hazards that repel it. The creature navigates a complex and fascinating path.

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Canal Boat

Canal boats tell the story of the first bold man-made trade network, of community cooperation, of the ingenious use of water power. Construct a boat, its mules, people and canal bed in 1/4th" scale. Operate a model lock. With the rich illustrations of Peter Spier's Erie Canal ©1970

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Cultures

To understand a people, study them where they live. Construct simplified model houses to consider the climates, resources, materials and traditions that define culture. Focus on a region. Focus on a historic area. Focus on a common pursuit like baking bread. Create façades of local architecture.

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Micro Architecture

Our micro-blocks and glue quickly and flexibly construct castles, temples, pyramids, Egyptian or Roman villas or fairy tale keeps. These models capture the exterior form and style of buildings and allow some interior detail. Castles and temples are perhaps the most expressive projects. We can adapt to your needs.

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Connecticut Clipper or New England Whaling

In the first half of the 19th century, Connecticut joined the race to California and China in sleek, bold Clipper Ships. Construct a model clipper with a hold to export and import cargo that built Connecticut's industry and commerce. Using the Charles W. Morgan, (a 19th c. whaling ship now berthed at Mystic Seaport) as a model, understand the industry that brought whalebone to the Strouse Adler Company Corset Factory in New Haven to make undergarments for upstanding Connecticut ladies.

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Woodland Village

Each student constructs half inch scale figures and a lodge… representing Quinnipiac or other woodland traditions…trees, tools, and totems that can be combined in a diorama of native American life. Adapt contemporary materials with the resourcefulness once applied to barks, skins and shells.

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Balance / Folk Toys

Immigrants brought to America traditions of crafting simple playthings out of common materials. These toys develop dexterity and inventiveness. Two toys from the catalog of classics. Understand Force and Motion or connect to Colonial curriculum or the geography of play. Yesterday's toys for today's kids – and they still evoke wonder. Nothing and everything is new.

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Dexterity Games

More than a century ago Mark Twain marveled that, surrounded by a world of inventions, children devoted their time to games: handheld marble games, to be specific. Those games still appeal. Design a game with it’s beginning middles and end. Hammer in pegs. Stretch a web of rubber bands. Play. One marble is not a challenge. Three marbles become a game.

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