These projects will be loaded as time allows.
Making Tree Cookies - How to make award-winning tree cookies that allow investigation of the environment and biology of tree growth.
Making a Binnacle Compass - A two part saga on the construction of a basic binnacle compass. The first design, built in a soda bottle, has certain flaws which are analyzed. The redesign in Part 2 yields a highly sensitive pecision compass built at a cost of less than a dollar. Students (or student teams) are expected to build both models.
Napier's Promptuary - Napier's Promptuarium or "The High Speed Promptuary for Multiplication" as he describes it, was the last of his inventions. With it he reduced multiplication to a process that anyone of the 1617 era could master. Building a modern version of the world's first calculator having a digital readout is an enjoyable but extended learning process, one well worth the time. Like Napier's Bones, it has considerable classroom teaching potential and is a great conversation piece. This project is suitable for focused students with developed handicraft or woodworking skills who desire a challenge. Enjoy!
Big Mac Project - Students must synthesize everything they know about geography, money exchange rates, foreign census statistics and the Big Mac hamburger to solve this puzzle: where in the world is the cheapest Big Mac?
The Slide Rule - Students are challenged to make a working paper slide rule - after first finding out what a Gunter Scale is and making one of those as well! This project can serve as an introduction to logarithms.
Napier's Bones - A bit of history of the mathematical technology behind Napier's Bones, a description of how and why they work, Powerpoint presentations on the Bones and Logarithms, and a complete set of Bones printable on paper and ready for personal or classroom use. Then learn how to multiply, divide and find roots using state of the art 17th century technology and methods - it's surprisingly simple and fast.
Ice Cream - Students analyze the time and temperature effects of different ice-melting products, then prepare a report complete with graphic comparisons. Only then do we apply this information and make genuine homemade ice cream.
The Hovercraft Project - students must research and analyze the dynamics necessary to make a successful hovercraft, then make a working desktop model. And a real one. Powered with a leaf blower and given a gentle push, it will carry several students halfway across the gymnasium.
Bird Flu Project - Students are given only a few guidelines. First they research and report on the effects of the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, then make a spreadsheet that models the death rate (in New Hampshire, in our case). Based on census and other records from 1918, the model must provide adjustable population infection and mortality rates, graphing results as they are changed. A second model based on current census population data is made and the results compared. Students finish by writing a report on how they would be affected should a like infection recur.
Newton's Birthday Party - Students research the life of Sir Isaac Newton, then write a report on a single contribution (or activity) made by him. (Any of his well-known scientific achievements, his devotion to alchemy, the church, and the mint of England are acceptable subject areas.) Then students make a feather pen and write a birthday card to Newton, showing them how difficult it was to write in those days. The project ends with a party on the last day of school before Christmas break. By the old calendar, Newton's birthday was on December 25.
Trundle Wheel - Students write a brief report on what a trundle wheel is and what it is used for, then we make one in class. Once it is calibrated, we ask the students to "calibrate" their legs by finding the average distance they travel in two steps. We use an inexpensive transit to survey our school parking lot with distance measured by leg stride, the trundle wheel and a 100-foot long tape. Scale maps are prepared by teams of students who then complete their report with a quote from at least one paving company for the repaving of the parking lot.