We decided this past week to try our first Think! challenge. The wonderful thing about the Think! challenges is that mechanical engineering becomes a kind of everyday experience - who knew? Our first challenge: using only one roll of scotch tape and 100 straws, build the longest cantilever you can.
We started by looking up cantilevers on wikipedia (I know, this is not the same as doing research with the card catalogue at the local library, but hear me out). After getting a basic definition of a cantilever - a beam supported on only one end - we then looked at and discussed photos of various types of cantilevers. Then we got out our blocks to try to imagine how to go about building ours. Finally, we counted out straws and got to work. Ours measures 54 inches. Pretty cool, eh?