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Here’s a great craft that is a fun, hands-on, learning experience–one where science takes flight and you get to build a pyramid kite!
A fun bit of history:
Alexander Graham Bell invented the tetrahedral or “box” kite while attempting to make a kite that was large enough to carry a man and a motor! So, this kite is an image of one of the first attempts at an ultralight flying machine. If you wish to turn this kite-making experience into a science project for older children, read Mr. Bell’s studies on the kite in this 1903 edition of National Geographic.
You Will Need:
- If your straws are bendy straws, cut off the bendy part of each of them with a pair of scissors.
- You will be threading string through lots of straws. To make this easier, tie a small loop at the end of the string and bend one end of a twist-tie around the loop. This will weigh down the string so it will go through the straws better.
- Thread three straws together and tie it off tightly into a triangle shape.
- Onto the first triangle, take smaller pieces of string and tie on three more straws to make a pyramid.
- After making four pyramids, trace one side of the pyramids onto tissue paper (it doesn’t have to be perfect). Then draw a line about 1/2 inch bigger and cut out the triangles. You will need 8 tissue paper triangles.
- Glue tissue paper onto to sides of each pyramid by wrapping the extra 1/2 inch up and over the straw. Allow the glue to dry.
- After the glue is completely dry, take 4 inch pieces of string and tie the corners of three pyramids together.
- After the base is secured, tie the remaining pyramid onto the tops of the three pyramids below.
- Then attach a long piece of kite string (for smaller children 15-20 feet, for older children 20-30 feet) onto the front corner of the front pyramid and wrap excess string around an old paper towel or toilet paper tube–any cylindrical shape will work.
When you begin to fly your box kite, it may take a few adjustments. You may need to move the kite string to another location if it does not take flight the first few times. We found that it had to be tied onto the very front point of the first pyramid for our kite to fly well.
Because of this box kite’s shape, it makes many fast movements, figure 8s, and can dive suddenly, so we suggest flying it over something other than cement if possible!
Photo Credits: Kirsten