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Oscillating Woodpecker

What you need:

1/4" OD clear PVC tubing plastic or drinking straw.
The clear 1/4" tubing is available from any hardware store. It is sold by the foot off rolls. You only need 1" per bird, but get a couple of feet to make a curvy, loopy drinking straw (like a "Krazy Straw"). It is food grade. You can substitute a rigid plastic drinking

straw. The thin kind school cafeterias always seem to have are the best.

thin rubber bands

How thin the rubber band is determines-more than anything else--how well the project works. If you are using a rubber band assortment, use the thinnest ones.

white poster board, scissors, tape

The poster board is about as thick as cereal box cardboard. Cereal boxes are one of my favorite things to recycle, but for this little bit use white poster board, which takes coloring well.

Assembly step1
Print the pattern, cut out the body and wings.

Print out the pattern. Some browsers--especially Netscape--change the scale and the size of the printed pattern. If the printout says something like, "Scaled-60%" try another browser. Also, the printout has a scale check. It says 2" line to line or 5 cm line to line. Make sure it's accurate. Rough-cut out the body and wings. Use tape doughnuts to stick the patterns to the cardboard. Fine cut the pattern of the body and wings. Tear the pattern paper off the three cardboard pieces, but first bend the cardboard a little on the line between the two halves of the bird.

Step 2
Cut a 1" piece of tubing or straw, tape
Tape the straw securely into the fold in between the bird halves. The same amount of straw should stick out the top as the bottom. Use three pieces of

tape on top of each other to really hold it on.

Step 3
Finish assembly and try it out.
Use a tape doughnut to hold the two halves of the body together, and to attach the wings. Cut the thinnest rubber band you can find and thread it through the straw. To make it go, get the woodpecker toward the end of the rubber band that the head points to. Stretch the rubber band vertically. Make sure your hand is not near your eye, so the rubber band will not snap your eye if it breaks.Shake your hands up and down a few times, then suddenly hold them still. The bird should keep on bobbing... and bobbing...and bobbing all the way down until its potential energy is exhausted.

If the wookpecker won't work, you can experiment with making the diameter of the straw smaller.

To make the diameter smaller, slice the piece of straw lengthwise. The cut edges will overlap a little, decreasing the diameter. Squeeze the straw a little bit so the edges overlap, as shown at right. Tape so it stays overlapped as much as you want it.

The instructions below arefor a design of perscope made from poster board or cereal box for the body, and the mirrors are cut from ordinary CDs or DVDs. If you are going to be making lots and lots of periscopes, I have another set of instructions that use plastic mirror here. Also, the Exploratorium has a design of periscope that uses a milk carton and small cosmetic mirrors here.

Step 1
Cut the mirror We can thank Shannon of Victoria BC, Canada for the idea of using ordinary CDs for the two mirrors. You can cut the CDs two ways: the proper way is with a vice as shown by pictures sent by Shannon. She wrote, "Pictures of the process for cutting CD's is below. Each CD makes four mirrors. Just keep bending the CD slightly as scoring and it will cut/break clean pretty quickly." If you forget to keep scoring as you

bend, the CD will shatter and ruin the reflective surface.

If you don't have a vice, or if you are lazy like me, you mght be able to just cut them with a high-quality pair of scissors. When I first tried it, some of the CDs would shatter, but then yet another Canadian, Heather Dickey of Ontario, (who made the periscope project with here cub scouts) wrote in that warming the CD up first with a hairdryer eliminated the shattering problem--and it worked! And then I found that heating them in warm water works too. From this I deduce that heating many materials makes them less brittle and there must be lots of intelligent, creative women live in Canada!

Step 3
Cut out the periscope body and the triangle mounts. Click here and print out the body pattern. Some browsers--especially Netscape--change the scale

and the size of the printed pattern. If the printout says something like, "Scaled-60%" try another browser. Also, the printout has a scale check. It says 2" line to line or 5 cm line to line. Make sure it's accurate. Rough cut (bubble cut) around the solid lines and stick 4 tape "doughnuts" to the corners of the non-print side. Tape it onto the cardboard and cut out on the solid outside lines. Keep the pattern taped on until you have folded on the dashed lines in the next step.

Go here and print out the pattern for the triangle mounts. Some browsers--especially Netscape--change the scale and the size of the printed pattern. If the printout says something like, "Scaled-60%" try another browser. Also, the printout has a scale check. It says 2" line to line or 5 cm line to line. Make sure it's accurate. The illustration only shows one, but you'll need to make two. When formed into the said triangles, they will hold the mirrors in the periscope at just the right angle. Once again, rough cut them out and stick them onto cardboard using tape doughnuts. Cut out on the solid lines (next step). Don't tear off the pattern until it is folded in the next step.

Step 4
Fold and tape

Fold both the periscope body and the triangle mounts on the dashed lines. Do it with a straight edge or on the sharp edge of a desk. Kids have a hard time applying enough pressure to make the fold while at same time trying to be accurate and stay on the dashed line. For that reason, I encourage the kids to help each other out in pairs for this operation. Four hands are better than two. Also, Laurie Spurk, a teacher and Bible camp leader suggests "...if you put a ruler on the dotted lines and then trace it (pushing hard) with a pen your lines will fold easier."

When folded, the body will start look like a rectangular tube. When you're satisfied of the

folding job, tear off the pattern and tape the edges together.

Similarly, fold the triangle mounts on their dashed lines and they will actually start to look like triangles. Tape one end to the other end.

Step 5
Tape the mirrors to the mounts, and the mounts to the periscope. The mirrors have to be taped to the hypotenuse of the triangle. This is the longer side opposite the taped ends. The triangles are right triangles (have a 90 degree angle), isosceles (have 2 sides of equal length) and they have two 45 degree angles.

Stick tape donuts to the back side of the mirror or CD, or stick it onto the hypotenuse of the triangle and attach the mirror.

On one of the other sides of triangles, stick on a tape doughnut. Push that side of the triangle into the periscope so it sticks on the inside wall. Look carefully to see how it goes in. Put a piece of on the bottom to further secure it in place. Of course, this has to be done with the other triangle on the other end as well. Tape in both mirrors, one to each end of the periscope. You might have to do some adjusting to get the mirrors to line up, but it's pretty intuitive.


Garden Glove Puppets

This is a fun homemade puppets design for retelling stories and putting on plays with multiple characters.

Possible Themes:
Farm Animals, Family, Friends, Three Little Pigs, and Cinderella

White canvas garden gloves (these can be purchased at any hardware store), yarn, craft glue, small plastic google eyes, scissors, colored permanent markers (consider Sharpie).

1. You may want to already have a few example puppets made ahead of time to show the child.

2. Discuss with the child what type of puppets they are going to make. Write down each puppet as the child lists them off. Some kids will want certain puppets on certain fingers, so make sure to discuss which one should be placed on each finger before beginning.

3. Cover the work area with newspaper or butcher paper.

4. The amount of assistance each child needs will depend on their age and fine motor skill development. Children 8 years and older should be able to complete the entire project with little guidance.

5. Allow the child to pick out a hair color from the yarn. Ask them to explain to you if it should be short or long and how it should be glued on. Then attach the hair.

6. Continue in the same manner with the eyes.

7. Finally, use the colored markers to draw the remainder of the face and clothes. Give younger children the choice of what color pants/skirt and shirt they would like their puppet to have.

8. Consider adding small details like buttons and pockets to really jazz it up.

9. Since this glove provides the option for multiple puppets, you will need to repeat steps five through seven until all puppets are completed.

10. Don't forget to play with the new homemade puppets right away.

Try cutting the fingers off to make these Homemade Finger Puppets added by Rebeca.