Easter Candy Dispenser Challenge
Design and build a gadget that dispenses Easter candy into plastic eggs. The completed gadget should include an opening to pour in your candy, a path that moves your candy to the exit, and an exit that deposits the candy into a plastic egg. Many inventors build a gadget that resembles a marble run, arcade game, or Rube Goldberg machine. The gadget can be the size of a shoe box or a candy run that fills up a bedroom wall. When brainstorming and designing the gadget, I recommend beginning by identifying the candy entrance and exit on the sketched plan.
This challenge can be completed by kids 8 and up with minimal help. Younger children will need assistance with the challenge. Cutting cardboard will require the most help. The older the inventor, the more complex the gadget will be. Encourage all of your children to work together on the challenge. The gadget will be more elaborate when ingenious ideas are shared. I know right now your kids may be struggling with all the “together” time and want to work alone. But I have found during classes that even kids who start out working alone will begin to share ideas with others as they work.
Gather recyclables and other materials that will inspire your inventor’s creativity. Below is a list of materials you probably have at home that could be used to build the gadget. Use some or all of them. Better yet, find other materials around the house to use.
Easter Candy and Plastic Eggs
Paper and pencils for drawing a design for your gadget
Recyclables: Empty TP and paper towel rolls, plastic cups and bottles, clean yogurt containers
Tape: painter’s tape, masking tape, duct tape
Glue gun or glue
String or yarn
The steps for all Ingenuity Challenges follow the engineering design process described below. Starting from scratch might seem daunting, but once you get started every step gets easier to visualize. Remember the goal is to develop your child’s ingenuity – not yours! So do not solve the challenge for them — guide them through the process by asking questions instead. When the design doesn’t work as planned and your child asks for help, ask your child questions such as: “I wonder what would happen if you tried xyz ?” “I wonder why not?” “I wonder how you could make changes?” “Did you think about xyz?”. Sometimes children are not accustomed to making mistakes and trying again without getting upset. Remind them that there is not right answer to an Ingenuity Challenge. Their ideas are good, but even the greatest ideas have to be modified.
During this shelter at home period, tackle the Ingenuity Challenges as a family. Let your child lead the process and enjoy observing your child’s creativity and ingenuity.
What is your child learning while building an Easter Candy Dispenser? This is a physics project that teaches the Laws of Motion and how gravity and changes in trajectory alter the speed and force of the Easter candy. If the Easter candy dropped down a vertical tube would have greater speed and force than candy sliding down a series of ramps at different angles and changes of direction. To explore the Laws of Motion further, encourage your child to experiment how changing the angle of ramps and adding friction to the gadget changes the speed of the candy.
Ingenuity Engineering Design Process
Ask “I wonder how I can invent and build a gadget that solves this challenge?”
Sketch the gadget design ideas on a piece of paper. Label the materials and determine how many materials are needed. While building and testing, there will be changes to the initial design. That’s OK.
Build and Test
Build the gadget. The best way to start building… is just to begin! Don’t worry about perfection or knowing exactly how it will work. As you build, test the design. It can start small or in phases. Inventors constantly test and make changes as they build. When the gadget doesn’t work as planned, ask “I wonder why not?” and test out new ideas.
If we were at Ignite, all the kids would try out everyone’s gadget. But that doesn’t mean we can’t share! Post pictures and videos of your gadgets on social medial and tag Ignite so we can share on our Instagram page with #IAmIngenious. Email me pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can post them on our website.
As you work through these challenges feel free to reach out to me with any questions via direct message on our Facebook page @igniteingenuity or Instagram page at @Ignite_Ingenuity.