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Library hosts fun, explosive event

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Youngsters ages 6 to 11 recently enjoyed a fun physics lesson at the Glades Road Branch Library in Boca Raton.

Before the session began, library assistant Angie del Busto created a 12-foot-long cobra weave pattern using one tongue depressor at a time to fashion a sample for the children to see when they arrived.
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“This is an exercise in potential energy,” del Busto said. “When I let it go and it explodes in the air in a jumble of loose sticks, that’s kinetic energy. I don’t want the youngsters to leave without knowing how to do the cobra weave. Doing this teaches patience — for them and me.”

As four moms entered with a half dozen children in tow, everyone was impressed by the long cobra weave sample she had made. The children were instructed to take a supply of tongue depressors from a side table and sit on the floor in front of del Busto for their lesson.

She then demonstrated how kinetic energy works by touching one of the end sticks in her sample. It exploded into the air, landing in a random jumble in front of the youngsters.

She then taught them how to make it. She placed the sticks together one at a time, weaving them in place so they held the unit together as it was being enlarged. She turned her attention to the children as they attempted to duplicate her effort. Then they exploded their samples, resulting in smiles and laughter.

She also demonstrated the orthogonal weave, begun with four sticks in an “E” pattern, and concluded with a “grenade” consisting of five sticks woven together in a fan pattern. When you tossed this at someone, it would explode as soon as it made contact.

“Learning how to make dominoes out of sticks was both challenging and creative,” said Boca Raton resident Corrina Sprockel, who brought her children, Cory, 11, and Ashley, 8. “All the kids enjoyed knocking them down.”

“I love that this class reinforces what they are learning in school: potential energy plus kinetic energy equals mechanical energy,” said Rose Corso, who brought her two children.

 

Read More: Tongue Depressor Making Machine

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