My kids were busy last week with the Kids Art Village, which is part of the Singapore Arts Festival. One of the moms we are in contact with on the homeschoolers network works there and kindly offered the group an opportunity for our children to participate either by submitting their art works or projects, or become art ambassadors to facilitate some craft making for visitors.
There are three themes over three weekends and the first is just over. It happened that the theme for the first weekend was "Great Inventors" and just so happened (I believe it is God's devising!) our eldest (11yrs) had just been working on a project of his own devising: The PaddleCopter.
Here's a description of his dream vehicle, a Paddlecopter. We used the following writeup in the poster (with his draft drawings) we put up to accompany the model. I did help him compose this but it was mainly his own words:
A saw that there are more and more traffic jams in Singapore and this prevents people from getting to their destination faster. He dreamed of how good it could be if people could fly and bypass the traffic. So he thought about travel by air instead of by land.
What is the PaddleCopter?
It is a flying vehicle that helps people get around faster by air. It is powered by paddling, like a bicycle.
Why the PaddleCopter?
- Convenience: As there are more cars on the road these days and more traffic jams, the PaddleCopter helps people to escape traffic jams. There are no red lights…. Just watch out for trees!
Future models will include systems to enable landing on water.
- Environmentally Friendly: The PaddleCopter is made of natural and commonly found materials so it a “green” vehicle. Also it does not run on gas so it doesn’t pollute the air.
- Cheaper: Because the PaddleCopter is made of common materials and does not have a motor, the cost of it is much cheaper than cars. And since there is no need to pump petrol into it, people save on weekly or monthly costs.
- Healthier Choice: The PaddleCopter encourages people to do their daily exercise while commuting from one place to another.
- Parking Space: In land scarce Singapore, even parking space is limited and the PaddleCopter, because of its wing span and rotary blades need quite a lot of space for parking. Future prototypes will include folding wings.
- Limited traveling distances: Depending on the fitness of the user, it can be tiring to be paddling for too long. However, there is the glider that can help ease the strain but this too is dependant on wind direction and weather in general.
- Weather: If it rains, the PaddleCopter will not function well.
Bamboo, PVC pipes, Aluminum, Polyester sail cloths, rubber tyres, Steel cables.
As homeschoolers, often the projects the children do are just for display at home and then chucked away. So I was really excited that this project of his could actually be on display, and even on something as big as the Singapore Arts Festival! Very thankful for this opportunity for my children to learn!
I'm glad also that the children embraced the opportunity too.
Research for the project
For the project, no. 1 really dug deep into detailed thinking about all the different aspects of such a flying vehicle would entail. One can see all this from the above write-up. (His points!) This is the result of his own interest and passion on the subject. I believe it shows. :)
He did some research about how gliders work by going on youtube (in my prescence, he's not allowed to roam around the internet privately). He thought about the downward drafts that are created by the propellers so he thought to solve the problem with a valve in the glider which will open when the propellers are turning and close when the paddler wants to stop, rest and glide when he has reached a certain height!
Part of the experience at the Kids Village was being an Art Ambassdor. My eldest had the chance of meeting groups of students (primary school ones and even kindies) as well as adults to do a presentation of his invention. We video-ed him doing one such presentation but unfortunately, I accidentally erased it. *smacks head* *twice* It was really wonderful to see how he composed his presentation (spoke off the cuff!) and was able to communicate his ideas to his attentive audience.
He particularly looooooved the kindies. He thinks they are so cute. He noticed a little girl about the age of his own little sister and he felt a little sad for her that she didn't have her mommy with her.
So I asked him if he needed to present his project to the little ones as well. He said of course, but he brought it down to a level that they could understand. Papa was there listening to several of his presentations and he noticed that he explained the valve to the older kids but left it out for the kindies group while he explained other aspects. :)
No. 1 has so much experience in speaking to kids of all ages (his own siblings), as well as adults. I'm glad he was given this opportunity as an Art Ambassdor to showcase this well socialized homeschooler! :)
Meanwhile, no. 2 and 3 were in another tent doing art and craft.
I signed up no. 2 and 3 to be Ambassdors as well and their task was to facilitate (teach) a craft to groups of visitors (students) who came. (again, I managed to singlehandedly erase all these photos!!!!) The children were given training on one day before the exhibition. They were to teach visitors how to make paper tulled birds. Very fun.
At first, no. 3 was reluctant to do it but I told him he had to and at the end of it, he would see that it was a good experience. They don't have many opportunities to work with many children so this was a good chance.
It turned out great! They managed to carry out their tasks which was teach around 6 other kids to make the paper birds. Each group took about 45 mins and they did three groups each.
At the end of Day 1, no. 2 (9 yrs) told no. 3 (7 yrs) that he had been doing some part of the bird wrongly. After that he kept saying he didn't want to go back the next day. I asked him was it because he made a mistake, and he said yes. It was a great opportunity to talk to him (once again) about not allowing our mistakes hinder us from moving on and that we ought to learn from our mistakes and improve ourselves. So he went the next day and he was glad he did! :)
God has been so good to us even as we carry out homeschooling. He has been actively growing and nuturing our children in ways us as parents can't, it is really amazing. He is really amazing.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
Proverbs 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.