Maybe all you folks on the coast know what a capstan is, but we land-locked folks haven’t a clue. OK, so I know now . . . a capstan is an interesting combination of simple machines often used on the high seas, a fun construction project full of little building skill challenges, and a great tool for a hands-on geometry experiment.
In this lesson, we discover what a capstan is using primary source photos, build a scale-model capstan, experiment with it, and gather data to make this a true STEAM winner.
I USE THIS PROJECT TO HELP FAMILIARIZE THIRD GRADERS WITH OUR CLASSROOM’S TOOLS, SAFETY PROCEDURES, AND DIFFERENT BUILDING TECHNIQUES.
I find that it is just difficult enough to learn a few important STEM building techniques – like how to square up with a T-square, how to use a craft saw, and how to safely use low-temp hot glue.
THIS PROJECT REQUIRES SOME SMALL, WOODEN PIECES AND IS MOST EFFECTIVE WITH A COUPLE CRAFT TOOLS AS WELL.
If you are hesitant, think of it this way: if you buy some of these rather inexpensive wooden craft supplies in bulk online, you will be set for a long, long time, and you will be ready for some amazingly cool STEM construction experiences in your classroom.
• ¼” square dowels – 12 inches per student
• 2 ¾ x 1 ¼ Unfinished Tall Slender Wood Spools – 1 per student
• Small wooden spools ½ diameter x 5/8” tall – three per student
• Craft sticks – about 6 to 8 per student
• String – 40” per student
• 3/16 round dowels – about 4” per student
• Paper clip – one per student
• ¾” diameter wooden wheel with 3/16” hole – one per student
• Craft saw – optional
• Floral shears or other small saw – instead of craft saw
• Mini low temperature hot glue
• T-square (preferred) or ruler
• Meter stick
• Drill (optional)
Time: 4 hours and more
Level: GATE 3rd through 7th