Invention projects allow kids to apply their scientific and technological knowledge toward a creative enterprise. This can make scientific principles "come to life" for students who would otherwise see science as a bland, austere discipline. You can use inventions to benefit the community, making for great projects in science as well as social studies. Some invention ideas that could benefit the community include solar energy, wind energy, recycling tools and health projects.
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Solar energy technology converts sun rays into usable mechanical energy. Most solar-powered technologies get their energy from solar panels, or large surfaces comprised of many connected cells that convert from sunlight to electricity using the photovoltaic effect. Small solar technologies often use a single cell solar panel to convert a small amount of solar energy to electric energy. One example of a science project involving solar energy is a solar-powered radio. You can easily build such a device by connecting a single cell solar panel to a radio using the wire inside the battery slot. This invention could benefit the community by reducing electricity costs for families that enjoy using radios.
Wind energy technologies convert wind power to a useful form of energy. Machines like windmills and wind turbines generate wind energy, capturing the kinetic energy by letting existing wind push a rotor that is attached to a gear system. One invention involving wind energy is an origami windmill. Make an origami windmill using a piece of cardboard paper and a pencil with a paper clip on the end. Use this creation to benefit the community, as it can be used to explain alternative energy to people with a visual aid.
There are many possibilities for inventions made from recycled parts. Use bottles to make musical instruments, use newsprint to create crafts and salvage electronics to create electric circuits. One example of an invention using recycled parts is a wine bottle night light. By inserting a light bulb into the neck of a wine bottle, a student can create a night light that emits a greenish coloured light. The student can give this as a gift to a community centre, where it could be used in light shows for kids.
Health and Fitness Projects
Health and fitness inventions can benefit the community by improving the health of its members. While ground-breaking medical technology is usually the domain of professional research teams, kids can create many inventions in practical health care and exercise equipment. One example of a health-related invention is a weight training system made out of apples and plastic bags. By filling a plastic bag with apples, a child can create simple light weights, a perfect exercise device for children and elderly people in the community.
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