Zachary Bronk, 5, left, watches as Lila Haug, 6, right, lets her battery-power scribbler machine run at the Lawrence Hall of Science’s Inventor’s Lab program at the Vacaville Town Square Library Wednesday. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)


Young inventors learn to build a better scribbler

By From page A3 | January 03, 2013

VACAVILLE — One danced around in ragged, wiggly curves, dotting its way across the brown construction paper as proud creator, 6-year-old Lila Haug, looked on.

Another one slowly spun in tight circles, making thick lines with all the implied skill of a protractor, with Cade Brooks, also 6, looking quite pleased with his invention.

“I think it’s cool,” Brooks said.

A couple more simply did not do anything at all and their young creators re-checked the motor, batteries, wiring and tape to see what they had done wrong.

“Look! Mine’s moving! Now what do I do?” chirped 7-year-old Andrew Wayne, summoning Inventor’s Lab educator Beatriz Becerra to his table to help him build a battery-powered scribbler.

Wayne was one of two dozen youngsters who took part in the electrical connections workshop Wednesday afternoon, put on by the Lawrence Hall of Science’s Inventor’s Lab program at the Vacaville Town Square Library.

This was the first time that Youth Services Librarian Kevin Tolley invited the hands-on science program to Vacaville and the nice turnout prompted him to consider inviting it back.

Becerra offered the workshop to show youngsters not only how electricity works, but also how to creatively apply it to light-hearted inventions such as the ones they made scribble on paper. The scribblers were made up of a motor, batteries, wires, a paper cup, tape and four felt-tip pens, which served as legs. How it all was put together was up to the kids.

“We heard about this is the paper and drove up here for a little learning, and Cade and Dylan are into learning,” said Marsha Lyons of her grandchildren.

Amy Haug, who runs a science program at the Alternative Cooperative Education Charter School, called the workshop a great thing for the children and something the library should offer more often.

Haug also pointed out it’s something parents could take with them to do at home because all of the materials, from the small motors and wires to paper cups and batteries, can be purchased at any Radio Shack.

“I always like inventing something, so I wanted to check this out,” said 9-year-old Logan Haug, taking a break from making his own scribbler.

The Inventor’s Lab program started in May 2012 and is located in the Norman King Community Center in Vallejo. It offers a free drop-in program on Thursdays and Saturdays, as well as touring area libraries and schools with programs such as the one offered at the Vacaville Library.

The idea is to spark creativity and to build skills through simple science and engineering projects that range from hydraulic systems to wind turbines, according to Becerra.

“It’s about learning how things are connected, inventing through trial and error,” Becerra said.

To learn more about the Inventor’s Lab, call 651-7161 or go to www.lawrencehallofscience.org/invent.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.

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