Monday, May 27, 2013

A Tale of Two Vanes - Part One

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Motorboats have 'em. Helicopters have 'em. Airplanes have 'em. Even some sea creatures seem to have 'em. Propellers exist in an astonishing array of shapes and corresponding purposes. For preschool engineers, the vehicles to which the propeller is attached might be the initial draw. Upon closer inspection, how a vane works to make something move is amazing. Instead of rotational translational motion of a rolling wheel (another thing that moves circularly), spinning propellers create aerodynamics, or hydrodynamics, that cause lift, push or pull.

Your preschool engineer does not have to wait to make his or her first model helicopter to enjoy propellers during play time. The "Super Subbie" toys are battery-operated animals that swim around in water by propeller motion. On Mikey's purple squid the propeller seemed easy to chip but only because he took it in the rice box to play. It otherwise has proven to be a pretty beat-up-able water toy and one that delights over and over again.

Disney movies are too scary for Mikey. He just doesn't like them. "Finding Nemo" was no exception...except for the single scene when Nemo is captured by the scuba diver. There is a propeller! The propeller makes bubbles in the water as the boat speeds away and, once he starts, Mikey just doesn't stop talking about it.

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