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High tech tools -- the WOW factor

John R. Hall
John R. Hall Member Posts: 2,246
I'm a big advocate of getting elementary school kids interested in the mechanical trades, at least to show them the "MTV" side of the business. Let me explain.

We all know that kids react very strongly to two things (among others): peer pressure and bell & whistles. I am planning a discussion with a fourth grade class at my kids' school soon and I want to show them some of the neat "gadgets" that technicians use everyday on the job. Kids love high-tech "stuff" and by showing them some of the neat tools HVAC techs use and how much skill they need to use these tools, the kids might just saw "Wow." They might start talking among themselves, too.

The "Wow" factor is big among kids.

So my question is this: What are some of the high tech gadgets I should talk about and how would you describe each in a few sentences that a fourth grader would understand? Feel free to post here or e-mail me. I really appreciate your help.


  • lets see

    draft gauge, manometer, combustion analyzer, torch(but it may not be good to teach little ones about fire). ah, power pipe threader.......dont really know the grasp of a forth grader...all i remember of forth grade was the teacher took my bag of marbles away and told me she would give them back at end of school year and then didn't. my whole life all i remember about forth grade was my teacher lied to me...funny how some things stick..
  • Gary Fereday
    Gary Fereday Member Posts: 427
    Your very lucky!

    Kids that age are really bright and special. Go to your local Boy Scout Council store, and get a Cub Scout book on the Activities Badges for Webelos Cub Scouts. There are many ideas there from Scientific to construction to birds. Science of heating is an extension of thinking, Construction, "putting it together" and birds,
    Point to the center of the earth? Soldering? Which bird is that? Measure the temp of ice with your Thermometer, place some salt in the ice and measure it again. What happened? Light a candel and place a jar over it. What happened and why. (Get permission for these stunts) Start three charcoal briquets and place a "Hot drink" paper cup on them, they'll burn the cup. now fill another with water and make some hot chocolet, on the briquets, what happened? why?
    Place some candle wax on the ends ofa piece of EMT conduit and some on a piece of M Cu tube. tubes the same length. heat with torch and see which pipe melt the wax first? what happened and why.
    Take a torpedo level. use ii to show what "Level" is and "plumb"? If plumb is straight up? why do plumbers (are plumbers named "Bob"?) always bend over?
    Show corrosion control. take from home a tarnished silver utinsle. a aluminum pie plate, and some bi=carbonate of soda. Do you know this drill? what happened and why?
    Take a "unused" P trap. explain the use of the trap. then take it apart and place the waste bend in the return bend of the trap and show the kids how plumbers talk to them selves. The last remark is that you never use a used trasp for talking to your self because all you'll hear is DIRTY words. The kids eat this stuff up! Keep it simple and make it fun! anyway bigugh
  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542
    It's the little things that count...

    things like laser pointed infrared temperature sensors, ultrasonic leak detectors, gas analyzers. Things they can put their hands on and try out. THOSE are the things that will set in their minds for ever.



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  • Dave Yates (PAH)
    Dave Yates (PAH) Member Posts: 2,162

    Taps on a straight 10' piece of 1/2" copper tube with a 1/2"x3/4" adaptor on the business end. One of our mechanics showed us that trick when we were camping at a remote job site (a few beers had been consumed by that time). The sound was amazingly clear and as distinct as any bugle!

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  • tombig
    tombig Member Posts: 291

    It takes some talented lips. A coworker in a welding shop used to do 'foghorns' through various sizes of 21 footers. Dead Men Vikings? The Infrared thermometer would be a gas with those kids by the way. Not much in the way of the physics of our trade but a lot of fun to play with. Maybe you could analyze some "human" emissions. I've never tried it but now that you mention it.......Hmmm
  • canuckDale
    canuckDale Member Posts: 77
    Water expansion

    I like to take a 100 ml graduated cylinder, fill it to 93 ml of water at 60*F and heat it to boiling with a propane Burnzematic. And watch their eyes buldge as the level in the cylinder goes to 100 ml! Hmmm 7% over 160*F go figure.

    I hear lots of cubscout and boy talk? I showed this to my daughter once. Girls are in this game too! And in my HO, sometimes much sharper?

  • John_5
    John_5 Member Posts: 1
    tech stuff for kids

    If you have a portable VOM or ohmmeter, let then read their body resistance by holding the probes. First with dry then with wet fingers. Explian that the lower reading wet is why water and electricity don't go well together
  • Wayne
    Wayne Member Posts: 4

    Giving out cool looking safety glasses will also help keep their attention. Young kids like the up close and personel attention. Also getting your hands on a vaccuum jar and removing the air with a marshmellow inside was always a crowd pleaser.
  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    I still get a kick..

    Out of the light boards that show how a circuit is completed. How about a plywood board with a thermostat and a light bulb for a circulator. Teach them how when they turn up the heat the pump turns on and hot water goes into their room. Kids have no idea how that works ( well mine do, but the they also know hot water comes from the basement ).


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