One of the reason behind coming to hill hacks was to visit schools nearby and do workshop on origami. So, I visited the Government Primary School, Naddi along with a fellow hill hacker Henna. Kids from other nearby government schools also came for the workshop. We conducted two workshops, the first one was on balloon powered car and the second one was on basic origami.
We took 25 kids of 3rd and 4th standard for the workshops. In the balloon powered car one we divided the kids into a group of four and then we distributed them a pack which had a cardboard sheet, two pairs of plastic toy car wheels, two steel rods, two straws, one rubber band, a pair of scissors and electrical tape.
We asked them to make the car. They started tinkering with the material given. Some of them passed the steel rod through the corrugations, some stuck the rod directly to the cardboard using the tape. But all this was making the car stop in a very short distance.
We asked the kids to figure out a way to attach the wheels in a free rotating manner. Initially they had difficulty but after 10-15 minutes some of them figured out that they can pass the steel rod through the straw and then attach it to the cardboard body.
Then the next challenge was propulsion. We started asking them questions like how does a car moves, how does an airplane flies, how a rocket launches itself. It was the rocket question that made some of the kids realize that they can use the balloon to power the car. The next challenge was to figure out how to make this happen using the parts available.
One group stuck a balloon to the straw using tape and tried putting it on the car. But the problem was that the balloon kept on coming off the straw, Then one group used the rubber band to tie the balloon to the straw. They had to try and test how many times they had to ply the band. Too tight the band lead to slow release of air and too loose lead to the balloon coming off.
After everyone group was done making the cars we had a couple of races. Kids were so excited in the entire process. We suggested that the can build more toys using the same concept and some of them said they would like to make a boat or a rocket.