Lauren and I decided to try and get together once a month for a big science experiment. On the theory that it's easier to do some things in bulk, or with lots of helping hands. We had our first one, playing with circuits.
We had four Snap Circuits sets, one we bought, one Mikko got for Christmas, one Lauren found at Goodwill, and one giant one I borrowed from the school library. I was expecting the large one to have a bigger board, but it turned out to have the same board, but more parts and a second book of instructions. We all had fun with these, Moira especially liked the jumping fan. I discovered why you should start at the front of the first book and work your way through, rather than trying random things from the back of the second book.
Lauren brought an experiment she got from Appleseed Lane, and we tried to lightbulbs light up with water. Unfortunately, it was a bright day and the lightbulbs were very dim. We think we got one of them going, but we couldn't figure out why the second set just wasn't working.
Our last activity was to take apart this old dead Tivo. The first thing we discovered is that it needed a special screw head, so everyone was disappointed that the electric screw driver wasn't doing anything. I eventually found a set that had the right flower shaped head, and we got it apart.
Not that they stopped trying while I was looking for the screw driver. I was impressed with their ingenuity.
I can describe what about half of the parts in here do. Then I started guessing. The main thing that impressed all the kids was how dusty it was inside. Some of them wanted to unscrew the motherboard, but it was in too tight.
There were also plenty of dangerous antics on the roller coaster. To the best of my recollection, no one has ever gotten hurt on this thing (barring rolling over their own feet), which constantly surprises me given the things I find the kids trying on there.