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The Kid Should See This

Battling for oxygen with gumdrops and toothpicks

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Two teams will face off at a table full of gumdrops and toothpicks. One team’s goal is to create oxygen and ozone molecules, assembling the candy and sticks as fast as possible. The other team is pulling them apart, a representation of the sun’s ultraviolet light and harmful human-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that can destroy the earth’s protective ozone layer.

This is the Gumdrop Ozone Depletion Model: Battling for Oxygen, a Teach Engineering activity for around grade six.

gumdrops, toothpicks
But what’s the engineering connection?

“Many engineers invent new technologies and/or re-designed old technologies to entirely avoid producing harmful CFCs, which deplete the Earth’s protective ozone layer. These changes to design, manufacturing processes, regulations and practices have reduced the U.S. CFC emissions dramatically. Some changes included new types of refrigerator coolants and the elimination of many aerosol spray propellants. The modern engineer always keeps long-term sustainability in mind as a design objective.”

building and breaking
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• How to Make Balancing Sculptures
• Use a 9-volt battery to break water into its elemental components

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