by Ed Sobey, Ph.D.
Age 8 to 12
“Launch yourself on a high speed building spree, making cars that are fun and fast! Make a car model in minutes. Start with a cardboard model to get a feel for the assembly. Move on to building hovercrafts, solar-powered models, cable cars, and more. Explore ways to power your model with rubber bands and electric motors. Build using your own ideas!”
Who is Ed Sobey?
Ed Sobey is the founding director of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, founded the National Toy Hall of Fame, and co-founder of Kids Invent! and Camp Invention, creating some of the best hands-on science learning in the world. If that wasn’t enough inventing, Dr. Sobey also starred in a television science show for kids called, The Idea Factory. Awarded two Fulbright Specialist grants in science education and having published 28 books—one short of a dozen for kids—Dr. Sobey travels around the world promoting creative learning and teaching for Semester at Sea. Dr. Sobey earned his Ph.D. in oceanography, which has taken him to the cold waters surrounding Antarctica.
Okay, he knows his stuff. What about the book?
Creativity in Motion starts off with the basics: supplies and tools. These models are not expensive, save-your-allowance models. Most use low-cost and free materials. Dr. Sobey suggests swiping motors from broken toys or other electronics. If unsure how, he wrote a book for kids called, Unscrewed: Freeing Motors, Gears, Switches, Speakers, and More from Your Old Electronics.
What I liked best about this book is the methodology. Most hall of fame inventors have made mistakes, and relish making them. Dr. Sobey wants kids to make these models in a fast fashion, having their hands moving along with their brain. He believes in fast prototyping, a method of quickly trying ideas, rejecting what does not work and building on what does. This lets you “create models quickly and generates learning quickly.” Kids will start with a goal in mind without rigid instructions and use the materials they have, creating something special not necessarily exactly as pictured.
I love that he wants kids to mess around with the materials, ask questions, and seek their own solutions. He said it is fine for inventors—or other creatives—to steal ideas, make mistakes, and learn while making a model. Kids are to build not plan and when not sure to just start building, keeping their hands working toward a goal, messing around, or making mistakes until something works and build on that. Writing takes the same premise. Just Write!
Calling all builders! If you like making stuff out of Legos™, K-Nex™, or even Lincoln Logs™ you will like building Dr. Sobey’s moving machines. There are 19 models to build in Creativity in Motion, but using fast prototyping, hundreds of cars are possible from these 19 models. As expected, these models start off easy and progress in difficulty. I think middle grade and older boys and girls will love messing around with these models, making things they can play with and show off. They will also learn as they build, but they do not need to know this.
Dr. Sobey wrote other inventive books for kids including motor boats, robotics, locomotion, toys, and general inventing. His methods are simple to follow, the process is fun, and in the end, you have something that you and only you created. So put down those other creative building sets and give Dr. Sobey and his methods try.
CAR MODELS THAT GO ZOOM: CREATIVITY IN MOTION. Text copyright © 2013 by Ed Sobey, Ph.D. Reproduced by permission of the author.
Learn more about Car Model that Go Zoom HERE.
Also by Ed Sobey, Ph.D