Green Faith Green News Pure Science

Christmas Card Engineering

To get people laughing, playing and celebrating in a new way my family made our Christmas Card into an engineering design challenge.  A basic description of an EDC is-  identify the problem, name some parameters, and work as a team to fill the need or want.  The requirements of our Christmas card:  connect with family and friends, make the card greener than last year, and include silliness, creativity, and craziness.  Paper was our choice since some cards are for little kids, others for non-emailers, and some are for friends in places where the internet is tough to come by.  We chose plain black ink on white paper made from a high percentage of PCW (post consumer waste) and hope that our loved ones either recycle it into more paper or keep the card forever on display in their home (most likely option 1).  Instead of a flat rectangle, the Christmas letter comes to life as an origami piano- watch a tutorial here.

Vijay Govindarajan, a professor at Dartmouth, says, “Innovation is executing creativity”.  Through science and environmental education opportunities, I’ve found that creativity is a delightful thread that beautifully weaves science, engineering, and nature together with endless possibilities!   Around the Ferris household, we often say that science is problem finding and problem solving.  “A systemic and often interactive approach to designing objects, processes, and systems to meet human needs and wants” is how the National Research Council defines engineering in A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2012).  We’ve engineered ways to make piano practice time more fun, bedrooms more organized, and clean-up from dinner more of a team effort.  On that note, in what ways have you creatively solved problems?  What needs fixing in your home, classroom, community or planet?  Engineer it!

Play. Learn. Love.

December 2013