Tinkering School

come make amazing things with us

Collect the Washers Challenge - George Washington High School Tinkering Labs Science 05.03

Sayuri FalconerComment

This week's challenge was to use the tools and materials to collect one washer from each of four numbered cans. The catch: you have to stand about two feet away from the edge of the table, as labeled by a Post-It on the floor. The materials are wooden dowels, duct tape, and rebar tie wire. The tools are pliers, and an optional second person on your team. 

The first can is on top of a table, the second one is on top of a stool on top of a table, the third one is "booby-trapped" by a surrounding wood structure, and the fourth can has a lid attached. 

The first can is on top of a table, the second one is on top of a stool on top of a table, the third one is "booby-trapped" by a surrounding wood structure, and the fourth can has a lid attached. 

On your mark, get set, go! The first person to collect all four washers gets to design the fifth arena, but you don't have to go in order. 

The first washer-retrievers were single-dowel designs, some opting for a hook on the end, some not, some taping two rods together to make a super-long arm. 

Other iterations used duct tape to stick the washer to the dowel from afar. 

Eventually, some students tried the third can. The wood blocks toppled over and duct tape was added to the bottom of the can to keep it in place. 

The second can proving to be especially hard, the kids tried using two dowels to retrieve the washers. 

This two-dowel method was later applied to can number four as well. The duct tape certainly helped with that. 

After the fourth can was bested, a fifth can was quickly implemented into the challenge...

...and outwitted! And a sixth one came...

And went... The seventh, hanging can was the last, and most difficult challenge. 

(Sorry for the bad lighting, classroom was dark)

(Sorry for the bad lighting, classroom was dark)

To wrap up, we tested our dowel maneuvering skillz by passing washers from stick to stick in a circle, into a can at the end. 

We got six or seven washers into the can! Go team!

Here is the Flickr album for the day!

Tinkering School is a trademark registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.