Ancient Engineering SeriesCatapult Kits
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The Cable-Stayed Suspension Bridge

It's HUGE! This model bridge is more than five feet long, six inches wide and sixteen inches tall. It was designed to carry two lanes of HO-scale model trains (or one line of O-scale train), or use the road-bed graphic for matchbox cars and trucks.

The kit includes everything you need to make this wonderful addition to your model train or slot-car layout, or as a display model for civil and architectural engineering groups and anyone else with an interest in bridges. The only tools you'll need are scissors, sandpaper (optional), some wood glue and about two or three hours of your time. It's a better use of your time than most evenings of TV watching, and you'll have a really cool bridge to show off for it too! The detailed instructions are filled with photos and tips to make construction as simple and easy as possible, however we recommend that an adult help any kids under 12 to assemble this kit.

Designed and manufactured in the USA, this bridge kit is precision cut by a computer controlled system from top-quality USA manufactured solid oak non-toxic, formaldehyde-free and void-free plywood for a dimensionally stable, strong and inexpensive architectural model. It is designed specifically for school science projects, model train hobbyists and all bridge enthusiasts.

Cable-stayed bridges are typically considered the most elegant of all the bridge types, and they're not only pretty, they're smart too. The instructions for this kit includes a section on the physics of cable-stayed bridges, and an analysis of the vector load calculations required for structures of this type.

It's a great introduction to the science of statics (the physics of static structures) and civil engineering, and its a fun project to build too!

* Train set and toy cars are not included with bridge kit. Shown for scale comparison only.

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    Price: $79.95
    Minimum age: 8
    Availability: out of stock

    Item code: 20121

Why should a kid
build a catapult?

Because the world needs good engineers and scientists, and because the kids who will grow up to become engineers and scientists need a way to get hands-on experience with physics, math and engineering.

In this age of 200-plus channels of TV, the Internet and computer games, kids are also spending far less time building tree houses, tinkering with engines, or designing downhill racers. We believe those are important skills to have. They help form the basis for good problem solving skills and an innate understanding of the real, physical world that you just can't get from a computer game, no matter how good its physics simulation software is.

Ballistic motion was one of the key players in the development of the science of physics. The word "engineer" even originated as the builders and designer of Siege Engines

Why is a budding engineering student expected to take a year or two of calculus in high school, but she isn't expected to have any real-world experience in building or working with machines and materials? Pencil and paper (or computer screens) are only one part of the learning experience. Where will she apply all of the stuff she learned in geometry and trig? Without physical projects to touch, feel and see, the lessons become abstract, their utility questionable.

A catapult project gives students a chance to see that science and engineering really can be fun, and it's a lot more than just numbers on paper. The real payoff for an engineer is in the field, where she can see and enjoy the results of her ingenuity. And it may seem counterintuitive, but engineering projects not only help kids learn math and science, they are also great at getting kids back outdoors, away from the massive over-exposure to video games, TV and the Internet.

Why all this interest in getting kids to study science and engineering? Because it's important to our society, and it's great mental cross training regardless of what field of work the kids eventually go into. Most people develop a sense for what they want to do in life while they are still in high school or even earlier. A catapult project is fun and interesting enough to inspire some kids to study the science behind how they work, and then go on to become the engineers and scientists of tomorrow.

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