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Spyro Tinker

Calvin received the Tinker Crate monthly science kits as a Christmas gift this year. Every month a box arrives that promises to keep him busy for hours on end, and so far they've been fun, fascinating, educational, and fairly vast in scope. We haven't even managed yet to explore all the different paths of learning each one offers, but we go back to them as new discoveries offer themselves.

Last month the kit was what I have been calling a mechanical spyro graph, although, as Calvin has pointed out, that isn't really what it is. It's a platform, to which he attached a motor and three markers. When he set the motor running it vibrated, as motors do, ever so slightly. And not much happened. But when he unbalanced the motor with a glob of clay, the vibration increased and sent the contraption shaking across a paper in a semi-predictable manner. When he moved the motor or the glob of clay, it changed that pattern. We had fun with alterations and predictions, but his favorite part of the kit this time, actually, was the artistic component. He loved the art it created, but he loved even more the art it let him create by using the motor's rotation instead to rotate paper discs, and the markers to color them.

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