Learning disguised as fun in rollercoaster and catapult workshops
By Sue Tiffin
Published July 5, 2018
Collaboration was in full force when 30 kids, and their parents, gathered in the Minden Hills Cultural Centre to take part in the second annual Mini Makers Engineering Day. The kids, aged six to 12, were completely engaged in two workshops about Extreme Rollercoasters and Crazy Catapults, led by University of Toronto engineering outreach Staff and organized by the Haliburton County Public Library and Minden Hills Cultural Centre.
“They were a really excited group,” said Sonila Badar, a third year computer science student and part of the U of T engineering outreach staff. “Everyone here was so into the activity. It was great that the parents were here, too. We were just happy to see the kids enjoying the activity. We know we did our job when the kids are happy.”
In the Extreme Rollercoaster workshop, children learned about the engineering design process, and while designing, building and testing model rollercoasters using materials like foam and tape, applied the laws of physics and principles of design during group work.
In the Crazy Catapults workshop, children discussed how force and energy affect motion and then tried it out themselves while designing and building catapult mechanisms.
“I think it was really well received,” said Noelia Marziali, community of making animator with the library.
“The kids learned something about engineering, and maybe learned even more by working together. It’s learning designed as fun.”
Like the Mini Maker Series programming that Marziali leads weekly throughout Haliburton County, the Mini Makers Engineering Day was offered completely free to kids. The regular series, open to kids aged six to 12, currently runs at the Haliburton County Public Library branches in Minden, Dysart, Wilberforce and Stanhope.