4th, 5th

Eli Whitney Museum

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Electromagnet thumbnail

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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Switch on understanding. Construct a house with a power source. Connect positive and negative test bars with contact points and switches for you to test different configurations of incandescent and LED lights. Test it. Understand series and parallel circuits. Test them. Rearrange them. Test again. Then experiment with other challenges.... Lessons in electricity and thinking.

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The Inventive Arm

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With modular wooden pieces, wire and rubber bands, construct a hand with fingers. The parts will work in a dozen basic configurations.

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Reversing Switch & Buggy

Reversing Switch Buggy

A battery's current flows in one direction. Clever arrangement of switches can reverse that direction. Construct a controller with a battery, motor and ultralight buggy which can go forward or backward. Learn wiring logic, precision, and trouble shooting.

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The Whitney Relay

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The Whitney Relay is a set of inter­connect­able parts that lets students master the art and science of energy transfer in the tradition of the Rube Goldberg Machine or its contemporary Japanese masterpiece: the Pythagoras Switch. Each student receives 5 ramps, 8 marbles, 6 blocks, and assorted parts to construct a chain reaction that could include your whole class. Thoughtful lessons in mechanics, invention and teamwork.

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New England Whaling Ship


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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