logo_bgc.gif (5583 bytes) Boys and Girls Clubs
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Litchfield - 2008-2009 school year

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I have been so incredibly busy this past year that I was not able to keep up on my photo albums for my Boys & Girls Club classes in Merrimack and Litchfield.!

I was able to get a photo album together for my first session in Fall of 2008 (click the link to go to that album), but that was it.  Until now.

The photo album below is from my Litchfield classes for all classes AFTER that first session for the 2008/2009 school year. You can find the Merrimack photo album by clicking this link.  I don't have ALL of my photo's here, but I have some of the better ones.  Also, to help get this album up quickly I did not bother to caption all of the photos.  I did do my best to put a description of each class just before the album though.

In Merrimack I teach 3 hours on Monday, 3 on Wednesdays and 2-3 on Fridays.  Tuesdays I don't teach and Thursdays are when I travel to Litchfield for 2 classes.  The number of classes I actually teach depends on the length of the class (some are 1 hour, some 2 hour) and how many kids sign up for a class.  I have had some canceled due to low signups.  Too bad as they were all great classes too...

Enjoy your time browsing the photo albums here.  When you click on a thumbnail image it will bring up the picture in this window.  You will have to use your browsers BACK button to get back to this page.

If you see any photos that you want for personal use you can contact me at jim@jflis.com and I will send you a high resolution version.  Be sure that you send me the exact FILENAME of the photo you want so that I am sure to send you the correct image.

Use these handy links to jump to a particular section (photo album):


Bubbles.  How fun!  There's also a lot of science behind them.  In this class we didn't dwell too much on the science other than to observe it and make note of some specific things that were happening (such as the full, spherical bubble taking up the largest volume with the least surface area).  Each week we explored a different facet of bubbles and soap films including the simple bubble, giant bubbles, bubbles under glass, effects of different shaped wands, making square bubbles and honeycombs, bubbles within bubbles, flavored bubbles and more.  As with any class many were excited and really into it, others got bored quickly.  The "messy" days were always the best for total class involvement LOL.  Hey, we even explored bubble artwork!

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Making bubble domes
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Bubble cylinders under glass (plexi)
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Making domes inside of domes like rooms in a round house!
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Studying the subject of honey combs
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Domes in domes, in domes...
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Look ma, no paint brushes!
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Making giant bubbles
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Flight Club

Flight Club is a class where we get together each week to build something different that can fly.  We start out with paper airplanes (from simple to complex) and them, week after week, move on to things like balsa airplanes, foam planes, kites, helicopters and more.

The kids learn about simple tool use, working with a variety of different materials as well as some subtle training in understanding aerodynamic forces and how they affect flight paths and duration.  Some times we finish the session with flying contests.

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Freeze Factory (Dry Ice)


Cold enough to make a rose petal shatter like glass.  Freeze Factory is the investigation and study of dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) and its effects on common things found around the house.  We explored sublimation (evaporation from a solid to a gas with no liquid state in between) as well as the density of CO2.  We saw how an expanding gas can fill a balloon, make bubbles in a soapy solution and more.

While everyone in the class was familiar with how dry ice makes "smoke" (CO2 gas), they were not prepared for all of the other fun things that dry ice can help you do!

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Making dry ice inflate a balloon
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Magic always results in a good turn out as the class is fun, exciting and the kids learn how to do REAL magic tricks that they can then bring home to show their family and friends.  The problem with a magic class, however, is that there really isn't all that much to take pictures of.  Next year I will make a point of taking some video's of the kids performing the tricks.  This single photo that I took shows a student performing the ever popular "Rope Trick"
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Model Rocketry

Model Rocketry.  My personal favorite (but them I am biased).  We hold 1-2 rocketry classes in Litchfield each year.  We build FlisKits model rocket kits as I have a connection and can get them at a good price :) 

Each session, at this time, is a beginner session where we build two models with a launch at the end of the 5 weeks where the kids get to launch off both of their models.

The kids learn building techniques, using tools (knives, pencil, ruler, glue, scissors, etc), techniques (folding, cutting, sanding, reading instructions, etc) and, in the end, bring their creations home for a personalized paint job.  they return them to the school for launching and get the thrill of their lives as they watch their light weight paper and wood model scream into the air and come back via parachute or streamer.  This has been our most successful offering through the Boys & Girls Club.

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Hard work results in a well built model
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Roller Coaster (Balls & Tracks)

I have always loved the course called "Balls & Tracks", more commonly known as "roller coaster design".  With simple materials such as pipe insulation and a marble, a roll of tape and some imagination, you can create some incredible and exciting roller coasters while learning about potential and kinetic energy, drag, centripetal forces and more.  (Lordy, if the kids knew how much they were actually LEARNING this may not be fun for them anymore LOL)

We don't have advanced versions of this (yet), so every class is run the same.  Those who come back to the class a second (or third or forth) time do so because of how much fun it is and the possibilities (and to prove that they can do better than they did last year).

Each session begins with a basic understanding of the materials along with the task of building a very simple track containing a simple hump (hill) and a jump into a cup.  They set it up using pipe insulation that has been split lengthwise and a marble for the roller coaster car.  This gives them a good introduction into the principles applied here and how to work with the materials.

As the weeks go one they are given more and more challenging tasks to complete (loop-d-loop, spiral (cork screw), track jumps and more).  Near the end of the course they are challenged to build a single roller coaster that contains all of these elements and any others that they may have thought up themselves.  

It is very gratifying to see their young minds figure out solutions to problems that seem complex at the start and then simplify once they understand the forces in operation.

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Even the most complex idea can be incredibly simple to implement once you understand the principles of operation
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Rubber Band Powered Cars

Power ARGH! (in my best Tim the Tool-Man voice...) LOL

Making things that DO something is always fun and Rubber Band Powered Cars is a great example.  Using simple materials such as cardboard, wood dowels, paper plates and rubber bands, we can create our own mini Indianapolis speedway right in the classroom!

The kids learn how to use simple tools such as pencil, ruler and knives along with hot glue guns and tape.  They learn techniques and principles such as balance, alignment, stored energy, friction and more.

What's more, they get to bring home a working model that, it is my hope, inspires them to try new and more complex ideas on their own.

We begin the session learning about the materials and tools that we will be using.  We explain the function of the parts and how to best attach them.  By the second week we are cutting and gluing and by the 2nd to last week we are fine tuning our designs and begin our races, for what's a car to do without a race!

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In many cases this is the first time these kids have ever used a hot glue gun.
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But they DO learn it, and apply those lessons to help them build and compete with their cars.
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And they're OFF!
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They don't all look the same either!
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The races were the most exciting part of the whole event.
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Survivor is a class that is run much like the Survivor reality TV show, but with an educational twist to it.  The first class is always a planning class with a simple challenge.  First break the class up into "tribes".  The number of tribes depends on the number of students in the class.  We have had as few as two tribes to as many as 6, in different sessions.

Once we have the tribes identified, they have to come up with a name for themselves and we can begin.  This first class will always begin with a simple (or not so simple, depending on your knowledge) geography test where the tribes will have to identify as many states and capitols as they can (or sometimes it is a world map where they have to identify nations, etc)

Each week the tribes are given challenges that they have to meet, while being measured against the other tribes for their rate of success.  The challenges range from educational to physical to silly and fun, each with the intent to pull out of each tribe the tribe members that can offer the best success for their tribe.  While one person may be a sports buff, but may not be as good at history, you may have a history buff who can't throw a basket ball, etc.  The kids quickly learn that EVERY member is critical to the overall success of the tribe.

On the last day we feature a treasure hunt that involves many clues (which lead to other clues) that cover subjects such as math, geography, history, science and more.  The tribes are lead to their treasure which is usually a treat along with a test.  The faster they find the test the more time they have to work on it.  By the deadline set all tests are collected and the best test score wins that final challenge.  Once all the scores are tallied for the 5 week session we can declare a winning tribe!

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Egg carrying relay race tests balance
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The coin catch tests coordination
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WIred is a class where the kids learn the basics of house wiring, electricity, how circuits work and more.  We begin with an understanding of how electricity flows, how circuits work, the difference between parallel and series circuits, doubling and halving the power available and more.

The kids learn how to use specialty tools needed to perform these simple steps, such as wire cutters, wire stripers, electrical tape, conductors and insulators.

For lights we use cut up Christmas light strings (these bulbs work on 1.5 - 3 volts (perfect)).  Other materials include D-cell batteries, electrical tape, paper clips and brass pins (to make switches), wire and a cardboard cutout in the shape of the front of a house.

I provide the kids with a drawing to attach to their "house" that shows different rooms as well as locations for the various components they must install (lights, switches, etc).  We then begin the wiring process.  

This usually being a very new thing for these kids it can take a while for them to truly feel comfortable with the materials and understanding the need to be precise, but it comes.  By the end of the class everyone proudly displays their working  houses, which they also get to take home with them.  Again, as with other classes, this is in the hopes that they use the tools and training to expand on this at home and learn more and more about this exciting subject!

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This concludes the 2008 / 2009 school year with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua at the Litchfield Campus.  Thank you to Barbara and Bill for such a well run program!

Thank you!

Jimmy Good Toad's log of contemplationMy commercial web site [NOT YET AVAILABLE] jflis@hotmail.com AltaVista Search Site Map Town of Merrimack New Hampshire Home page Copyright, 1998, James M. Flis
Copyright, 1998, James M. Flis