Summer Fundays at The Lawrence!

Three people working together to build a geometric shape with wooden dowels

Join us this weekend for Math Madness (Thursday, July 1–Sunday, July 25).

Learn using giant geometry, paper sculptures, and kaliedescopes to explore angles, patterns, structures, and shapes to construct your own designs!

Check out what's happening now!

Giant Geometry

Explore how different shapes affect the stability of structures by making your own giant creations using wood dowels of different sizes and 6 prong tube connectors. This activity is great for groups and cooperative learning!

a person sitting on the plaza inside a giant geometry structure
a person is building a giant geometry structure on the plaza with Pheena the Whale in the background

Geometry, Experimentation, and Engineering

  • Can you make something using only triangles?
  • Can you make a tall tower?
  • Which shapes do you find are most stable when building your structure?
  • Does changing the dowel size have any effect on the stability of your structure?

Kaleidoscopes

Kaleidoscopes use reflections to create beautiful patterns with colors and designs.

Looking through a kaleidoscope at the fountain on the plaza

Primary Colors, Symmetry, Pattern & Reflection

  • How do you think kaleidoscopes work?
  • Which colors can we combine?
  • Why do we need mylar paper in our kaleidoscope?
  • How does the pattern or color in your kaleidoscope change?

Paper Sculptures

Create a unique paper sculpture by using various mediums including wax paper, tissue paper, cellophane, and cardstock. Twist, loop, curl, roll, bend or fold strips of paper to create shapes.

Physics, Paper Techniques & Properties of Structures

  • What are some structures you’ve seen before?
  • Which paper is more sturdy?
  • What type of structure would you like to build?
  • What is the difference between each type of paper?
A paper sculpture of a bee constructed on the plaza at The Lawrence

Pinball Machines

Create your own pinball machine! In this design challenge, explore and learn the inner mechanics of a pinball machine by designing, building and testing your own unique machine out of everyday materials and recyclables. It’s a good idea to test and play with examples for inspiration before making your own pinball machine.

Pinball Mechanics

  • velocity
  • collision
  • gravity
  • tension
  • incline plane
    or ramp
  • potential &
    kinetic energy
  • momentum
  • force
  • plunger
  • flippers

Ramps and Rollers

Build your own ramps! Assemble tracks using foam blocks of various shapes and colors and pvc tracks (halved pipes). Then test your track by rolling a rubber ball through it. This activity is especially geared toward younger learners.

A child on the plaza at The Lawrence building a ramp during a science activity
A child on the plaza at The Lawrence setting a ball on a ramp during a science activity

Potential vs Kinetic Energy

  • How does the incline of a ramp affect the speed of a ball?
  • How can you make a ball roll faster or slower?
  • How does the length of the track affect the ball's journey through the track?
<--end col-->

Catapults

A catapult built during Summer Fundays

Using a few simple materials and a lot of ingenuity, you can explore how engineering and physics come together to make a miniature catapult. You can work on your own or collaborate to construct and fine-tune your paper launching machine.

Physics, engineering, potential vs kinetic energy, and trajectory!

  • How far can your catapult launch a pom pom?
  • What can you do to make your catapult fly further?

Optical Illusions

Design, build, and test your own optical illusion out of everyday materials while learning about the eye’s anatomy! An optical illusion occurs when we are tricked into seeing two separate images as one. A good starting point for an optical illusion is thinking of what image you want to see. Think of how you can split the image into two parts that will then merge as one when overlapped. As you test your design, try adding more images to your optical illusion in order to make a more complete picture.

Persistence of Vision, Optical Illusion and Sight

  • Where should each image be placed in order for your optical illusion to work?
  • How should the optical illusion be assembled?
  • How do our eyes work? How do we process what we see?
An activity about optical illusions

Wobble Bots

Design, build and test a simple machine that can draw! In order to build the simple machine (Wobble bot), there are a few variables that should be explored such as the use of a weight which can be either a cork or markers. Use your problem solving and creativity! Predict and investigate how placing the markers and/or corks at different angles affect the wobble bot movement and patterns.

Two children building wobble bots at the plaza at The Lawrence
A wobble bot science activity

Energy sources, batteries, motors, switches, circuits and weight!

  • What do we need to do in order to get this bot to work?
  • If you want the bot to draw, where would you place the markers on the bot so it can make a drawing?
  • What do you need to do to change the design or patterns?