Dyson's engineers have put together challenges with kids in mind, dozens of engineering and science projects that are not only simple in scope, but designed on to cards that can be printed at home, and re-used.
Many challenges are also tied to a video showing children how to craft the projects. And while there are some familiar examples — egg in a bottle, anyone? — there are some very clever concepts, that tap into games many children likely already love, and basic items that are probably already inside locked down homes.
As more of the world is shifting into social distancing, if not outright quarantine, children are being asked to turn their curiosity and energy into homebound activities. Interview any educator who spends hours a day with children — that's a tough ask.
Each science and engineering project has a beautifully designed card The James Dyson Challenge
In the U.S., most children are also shifting into an online school day, crowding around computer, tablet or smartphone screens to follow educational lessons, do homework, and submit assignments. Hands-on learning — that time when kids paint, craft, or yes, engineer, is harder to facilitate between students when each is miles apart in their own home.
Dyson, arguably one of the best known names in product design, put together projects through its charitable arm, the James Dyson Foundation, and they've added a bit of flair. Each challenge has a card, broken into a brief, steps on how to complete, tips, materials needed and graphics that help to guide students working alone.
Online there are six videos tied to some of the challenges that Dyson has recorded with the longest, about five minutes long, perfect for short attention spans.
Two different kinds of challenges are available, those that focus specifically on engineering, like how to build a cardboard chair or design a periscope, and pure science challenges which cover the classic lava lamp instruction kit to an immensely useful guide on constructing a fire extinguisher.
While some parents may be feeling a bit bent, during this time, on being asked to help their children craft the latest rocket ship to the moon, some of the projects can be handled solo for most children, those certainly in upper elementary school grades and older.
For teachers, too, there's a nice chart that can be sent out to students (and certainly parents can make use of this too) with boxes to tick as they complete each challenge — if they choose.