What a terrific conference. Attendance was only down about 10% compared to last year. This is insignificant in light of the fact that many of Ontario's teachers are on 'work to rule' while others were in a legal strike position. What that means is that extra-curricular activities get slashed. Our conference is co-curricular and not extra-curricular and this is why many came.
I had seven teachers at my "Building Balsawood Gliders to Scale" workshop. The teachers followed my instructions, put the control surfaces on the various parts and we flew them in the room. Some of the teachers went out into the hallway to fly their newly created gliders. We built the standard glider with a main wing, horizontal an verical stabilizer. We added control surfaces to control roll, pitch and yaw.
Our second glider was a delta wing with a canard. And the third one we made using paper towel rolls for those on a tight budget.
The second workshop was called "Taylor's Pneumatic Toys." I'm humble; I named it after me. I started off with an experiment demonstrating the multiplication of force. Following this I taught the educators how to build a pneumatically controlled Canadarm. I am a visual learner and this is how I teach. I explain a point then show my audience what to do. What I learned about doing this workshop was that I needed more models to show each of the steps. I had a finished model. This wasn't working so well. I gave them the booklet with the plans in it. I was reluctant to give out the plans earlier because they would have just built it without realizing there are steps that must be followed in the assembling process if the arm is supposed to work. I'll definitely have more visual pieces for my workshop in Houston.
We didn't have time to make what I call the McDigger. The McDigger is a front-end loader using a medium McDonalds ® French fries' container for the loader section. I gave each of the 25 in attendancea a McDigger kit to take home.
I get such joy out of watching teachers get excited about flying planes and making Canadarm's work. I am confident that they will take this excitment back to their classrooms and get their students excited about science.