Tracey Kramer's class with their homemade lighthouses.

Tracey Kramer's class with their homemade lighthouses. Credit: Tracey Kramer

This year, a representative from the Maritime Explorium in Port Jefferson, came to our school twice and we participated in a hands-on engineering design process.

The first time the rep visited our school, the title of the program was “Let’s Get Rolling.” We were given a variety of recycled items to create a race car. We had to create a wheel and axle that was able to roll down a ramp. We explored how the weight of our cars and the height and angle of the ramp impacts the distance our car travels. After several trials of trying to make the car roll farther each time, we were successful and they rolled to the end of the library.

The second time the rep came to visit, the name of the program was “Light it up!” We worked as electrical engineers, engaging in hands-on experiences while exploring circuits. Together we brainstormed different materials — including copper tape, aluminum foil, conductive thread, paper clips, and wire — that conduct electricity. After learning about conductive materials and building a basic circuit, we were challenged to create a working lighthouse, again using a few recycled objects such as cups, paper, foil, paper clips, and tape.

We really enjoyed these hands-on science experiences. We were given time to go back and fix or change our cars and lighthouses until they worked. After all of the trials it felt great to be a success. Your school should get involved in this! It is awesome. Visit them online:


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