STEM Activity: In the Clear
Invent the next great device to navigate extreme weather!
- Recyclables (e.g. cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, cardboard tubes)
- Brainstorm different kinds of extreme weather — from typhoons to blizzards!
- Next, think about ways to navigate through extreme weather.
- Then, think of various forms of transportation, like cars, bicycles, ships and scooters, and consider how they might be adapted to handle intense rain, wind and snow.
- Once you’ve finished brainstorming, sketch a few different models of your transportation mode or device.
- Gather recyclables (i.e., empty cardboard boxes and plastic bottles) along with tape, scissors and paper to build a prototype (model) of your invention.
- Share your invention with a friend and get their feedback on how you could improve the design.
- Finally, modify your device based on the feedback and share how your invention could help people navigate extreme weather.
Educators: Use this activity in the classroom with these modifications!
Divide children into five teams and assign them each an extreme weather scenario: hurricane winds, typhoon rains, desert sand storm, tornado winds and a blizzard. Challenge them to design an ideal mode of transportation for each scenario. Then, have them switch models and use another team’s model for their extreme scenario.
What Are We Learning?
While touring New York City in a trolley, National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductee Mary Anderson noticed that streetcar drivers had to open their windows to see through wet conditions. Sometimes they even had to stop the trolley, get out, and clean off the windows. In 1903, Anderson patented the first effective windshield-clearing device, which came to be widely used in automobiles. Mary Anderson is just one of the many women patent holders we celebrate during Women’s History Month!