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Activity Book 4: Intermediate Level

Best suited for ages 11 to 15


All about energy crossword

Natural Resources Canada

All about energy crossword

Across

1. This instrument measures temperature in degrees (11)

2. Take the (instead of a car) with your friends (3)

3. These familiar green giants absorb greenhouse gases. You can help by planting more. (5)

4. This fossil fuel is a black rock we burn to make electricity. (4)

5. By _______ instead of using the garbage, you help save energy and conserve our natural resources. (9)

6. It describes our efforts to use less energy. Think opposite of waste! (12)

7. This car fuel is made from plants. (7)

8. The temperature scale used in Canada. (7)

Down

1. A machine that turns flowing water or blowing wind into electricity. (7)

2. It powers the television, computer, refrigerator and much more! (11)

3. Name for energy sources that cannot be used up. (9)

4. Sunshine gives us this kind of energy. (5)

5. Colour associated with behaviours that protect the environment. (5)

6. Energy-saving motto: _______ , reuse, recycle! (6)

7. When people arrange to drive together, they _______ (7)

8. Save energy: hang your ______ outdoors to dry!

Answer Key

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Crack the code

Health Canada

Use the decoder key to crack the code and reveal the mystery answer!

Crack the code

Answer Key

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Health risk cruncher

Health Canada

Look out for health-risks in your environment

Congratulations! Look out for health risks in your environment and you'll make your home and community a safe place for you and your friends.

Instructions for folding a Cruncher:

  1. Cut the Cruncher.
  2. Illustrations facing down -Fold all four corners so they meet in the middle of the paper.
  3. Flip over -Again fold all four corners together so they meet in the centre of the paper and leave them there.
  4. Fold in half in one direction, then in half in the other direction.
  5. Finish -Stick your thumbs and first two fingers into the four pockets on the bottom of the cruncher and start crunching.

Play with a friend or on your own

  1. Choose one of the top words
  2. Spell out the word you open and close the cruncher
  3. Then choose on of the words you can see
  4. Spell out the word as you open your cruncher
  5. Pick a word under the flap and read the Environmental Health tip
  6. Go cruncher crazy and repeat the steps as many times as you want

Health Risk Cruncher

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Build your own cruncher

Health Canada

Build your own cruncher

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Building a thermometer

Environment Canada

Materials:

  • Glass jar (the smaller and narrower, the better)
  • A small quantity of cooking oil
  • Stopper or cork for the jar
  • A sealant such as petroleum jelly, candle wax or modeling clay
  • Several drops of food colouring
  • Clear narrow drinking straw at least 15 centimetres long
  • Eye dropper
  • Water
  • An index or recipe card about 8 cm by 13 cm (13 inches by 5 inches)
  • Thermometer for reference

Method:

  1. Fill the glass jar with water and add a few drops of food colouring to make the water visible.
  2. Cut a hole in the stopper or cork, just large enough to slip the straw through.
  3. Place the stopper in the jar and insert the straw through the hole.
  4. Add more water but this time through the straw and until the water is about one quarter of the way up the straw.
  5. Seal the straw into the stopper and the stopper onto the jar using either the petroleum jelly, modeling clay or candle wax.
  6. Finally put a drop of the cooking oil into the straw so that the oil sits on top of the wafer. The oil prevents the wafer from evaporating.
  7. Attach the index card to the straw. Allow the thermometer to settle for 2 or 3 hours.
  8. Now use your reference thermometer to calibrate your home-made thermometer. To do this, note the level of water in the straw and mark a line on the card. Beside the line, record the temperature shown on your reference thermometer. Repeat this process over the next several days.

A final note:

The width of the straw and the amount of liquid in the jar will affect how quickly and accurately your thermometer will respond. With a narrow straw, a smaller volume of water is required to raise the level in the straw noticeably.

Points to discuss:

This thermometer is based on the principle that water, in fact most liquids, expand when heated and contract when cooled. Ask your students to predict where they think the hottest and coldest parts of room are located - then let them check out their predictions over the next 2 days using their thermometer. Remind them that this thermometer takes a long time to respond because the entire jar of water must adjust before it will register the new temperature. Ask your students if there are any drawbacks to using their home-made thermometer, and see if they can identify at least 3.

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Conserving Grandma's catch

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Objectives:

To show the role our coastal ecosystems play in providing productive fish habitat and the importance of not only protecting coastal areas, but also managing fish populations to ensure a continuous supply.

Materials:

  • fish bowl
  • two bags of 'goldfish' crackers

Background:

Our Atlantic coastal ecosystems are some of the most diversified and productive in the world. They provide essential habitat for a variety of fish species. Coastal ecosystems are necessary for their survival and must be protected. But protection is not the only thing we must consider if we want our grandchildren to be able to eat fish.

Fish are a renewable natural resource. Unlike coal and oil, renewable natural resources are always replenishing themselves. But if we are not careful and destroy the habitat and take too much, the fish will not survive. To make sure we always have a source of fish, we must carefully manage how many fish we take.

There are a variety of methods used to manage fisheries, such as setting regulations on how to fish, when to take the fish, and limits on how much to take. Protecting coastal ecosystems and following fisheries regulations is practicing good conservation. Conservation means we use nature wisely without using it up, so that future generations can also benefit.

Procedures:

  1. Discuss what fish need to survive: Good habitat in our coastal ecosystems where they find food, shelter, water, and space.
  2. Tell the participants that in this activity they come from a community where fishing has been the major enterprise for the past 200 years. It supports the whole community. People not only work on the boats, but also in the cannery where the fish is processed. The local stores are kept busy by the customers who work in the fishing industry. The teachers and doctors are in the community to provide services to the employees of the fishery and their families. What would happen to the whole community if the fishery was closed, due to a lack of fish? Inform the participants that each generation wants to make a living from fishing.
  3. Assign each participant the following roles. First generation: grandma, grandpa. Second generation: son #1, son #2, daughter #1, daughter #2. Third generation: grandchild #1, grandchild #2, grandchild #3, grandchild #4, grandchild #5, grandchild #6, grandchild #7, grandchild #8.
  4. Pour the contents of one bag of goldfish crackers into the bowl.
  5. Let each grandparent fish from the bowl by scooping up a handful of fish. Let the grandparents decide if this is enough fish for them.
  6. Let the second generation fish in the same manner as the grandparents.
  7. Let the third generation fish in the same manner as the grandparents. (Chances are there will be no fish left.)
  8. Ask the participants if there is anything about fish we have forgotten? Fish reproduce. Repeat steps 4 through 7, but add two handfuls of fish from the second bag of goldfish crackers for each generation. Repeat after the third generation. Do you still run out of goldfish? (Chances are there will be no fish left.)

Discussion:

Discuss with the participants who did not get enough fish? Why? How could the fish be conserved for future generations? Would you limit the number of people who could fish? Is there a way of changing the fishing method? (Try using only your thumb and forefinger.) Would you allow a shorter time to fish and would you set a limit for the number of fish caught? Discuss these questions with the participants and come up with a solution to solve the overfishing problem

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Interesting

Industry Canada

You just opened a bank account!

1. Here are the transactions you completed this month:

  • You deposited $100.
  • You used your Interac card to buy a bouquet of flowers for your mother that cost $17
  • You went to the movies last week. Since you didn't have any cash on you, you used your Interac card to pay for the ticket, which cost $7.50.
  • You cashed a $20 cheque from your grandparents.
  • You withdrew $20 from your account using an ATM at your bank.
  • Three times you withdrew $20 from an ATM other than your bank's ATM. Therefore, each transaction cost you $1.50.

How much money is left in your bank account?

NET BALANCE:

2. From the list that follows, you buy all of the items that satisfy ONLY fundamental needs, and avoid buying those that are wants. If you started with $185, how much would you have left?

  • a muffin and orange juice for breakfast: $3
  • a tuque, or winter hat: $20
  • the sport socks you've been wanting forever: $80
  • a concert ticket to see your favourite singer or group: $20
  • eye glasses: $90
  • a hamburger and fries from the snack bar in your neighbourhood: $4
  • school books: $36.99
  • shoes: $21.75
  • a cap with the logo of your favourite soccer team: $28.99
  • a bag of potato chips: $1.99

I HAVE LEFT:

3. On your birthday, you deposit $20 into your bank account. Your financial advisor explains that the money you deposit earns interest every year. Interest is calculated on an amount either invested (like in a bank account) or borrowed.

For example, an investment of $10 in an account that earns annual interest of 5%, will give you $0.50 in interest after a year. If you invest $40 in an account that earns annual interest of 10%, you will receive $4 in interest after that same year.

  • Calculate how much interest your $20 deposit will earn in one year if the interest rate is 5%.
    5% of $20 =
  • You have $30 in your pocket. If you add that money to the money you already have in the bank, how much money would you have at the end of the year if the interest rate went up to 10%?
    $20 + $30 + 10% of $50 =
  • Two years have gone by since you first opened your bank account. The first year, you deposited $100 and the interest rate went up to 10%. The second year, you deposited $135, and the interest rate went down to 5%. How much money do you now have?
    First year: $100 + 10% of $100 =
    Second Year First year + $135 + 5% of the previous amount=

Answer Key

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Drawing circles

Canadian Space Agency

Materials:

  • 3 blank papers
  • 2 markers
  • masking tape
  • 2 g simulators

How to make a 2G simulator

  • Fill a self-seal bag with 2-3 kg of damp sand
  • Seal the bag removing as much air as possible
  • Spread the sand equally throughout the bag

Procedures:

Conduct this experiment in 3 parts:

  1. On the first paper, draw and trace a circle ten times with your eyes open and ten times with your eyes dosed.
  2. Repeat part a) on the second paper with a 2 g Simulator taped to your forearm.
  3. Remove the 2 g Simulator and immediately repeat the procedure on the third paper.

Findings:

Compare your drawings of the circles on your 3 papers.

  • Compare your ability to retrace the circles in each of the drawings.
  • Compare your ability to draw circles before using the 2 g Simulator and after you removed it.
  • Were they the same?
  • Why or why not?

Compare and discuss the results with other team members.

  • Were each member's findings the same?
  • What conclusions can you draw?

Discussion:

Together, discuss how you could relate this to what the astronauts experience. Do you think the shuttle astronauts would experience the same effects if they were asked to perform the tasks before, during and after their mission?

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Influence of microgravity on balance and the sense of orientation

Canadian Space Agency

Objective:

To demonstrate the importance of the eyes in keeping your balance.

Materials:

  • Plank (2" x 4" x 24")
  • Chronometer
  • Blindfold

Method:

  • Lay the plank flat on the ground. Have two students hold either end to keep it steady.
  • Have a volunteer stand on the plank with the toe of one foot touching the heel of the other and arms crossed on his or her chest.
  • Time how long he or she can balance on the 2x4 with eyes open.
  • Repeat the experiment and time it again with the person blindfolded.
  • Explain why the volunteer lost his or her balance more quickly the second time, when he or she no longer had any visual cues.

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Luminous Water

Canadian Space Agency

Astronauts are first and foremost scientists. Therefore, they perform several experiments while on mission, but also when they are on the ground. Try the following experiment!

Some obstacles, such as water and glass, cause light to deviate. This experiment is a good way to demonstrate what happens.

Making a Light Deviation Device

Materials:

  • Scissors
  • Clear plastic bottle
  • Water
  • Flat dish
  • Small flashlight

Procedure:

  1. Use the scissors to poke a small hole in the bottom third on the side of the bottle.With your finger on the hole, fill the bottle with water. Place the bottle on the dishand turn off the lights in the room.
  2. Let the water trickle out of the hole onto the dish. Shine the beam of the flashlight around the bottle at level with the hole. If the beam is properly positioned, thewater trickling from the bottle should become luminous. Even the water in the dish should emit light.

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Sweet Pee

Canadian Space Agency

Since water is a rare commodity in space, astronauts on the International Space Station will be recycling their water. This includes respiration, perspiration, shower and shaving water, and even urine. This wastewater will be purified and then recycled for drinking and other uses.

Biological treatments are used to purify water on Earth. The micro-organisms used in this process destroy contaminants in the water. The International Space Station will use physical and chemical processes to remove contaminants, along with filtration and temperature sterilisation to ensure the water is safe to drink.

Materials:

  • Simulated Urine
    • yellow food colouring
    • clear carbonated soft drink
  • Simulated Biological Active Agent
    • 8 raisins
  • Simulated mixture of Citric and Carbonic Acid
    • clear carbonated soft drink
  • stirring stick or spoon
  • 500ml beaker or appropriate glass jar labelled "Sample Jar"
  • Two 500 ml clear bottles with sealing top
  • drinking glass (clear)
  • knife
  • coffee filter
  • small plastic vial or closable plastic bag

Preparation:

  1. Mix the following liquids in a 500 ml bottle, to simulate urine: approximately 100 ml of a clear or yellow soft drink (Example Ginger Ale, 7-Up) and 1-3 drops of yellow food colouring. Some experimentation with the correct size and number of drops may be required to give the correct appearance. Let this mixture go flat (can be accelerated by stirring).
  2. Chop the raisins into very small pieces, and store in the plastic vial or bag. Label the vial with "Biologically Active Re-Processing Organism". On the label write an impressive looking number (e.g.AF-4366032-B2) and a recent past date. Place the top on the vial (a film canister works well as a plastic vial). This is the "biologically active agent".
  3. Pour 450 ml of clear soft drink in the 500 ml clear bottle with a sealing top. Make sure to seal the top so that the carbonation is retained. Label this bottle "Citric and Carbonic Acid".

In Class Demonstration

Remember that this is a simulation, so that if the audience knows what the actual components the demonstration really are, the effect will be lost.

  1. Prior to the presentation, place the plastic container with the "biologically active agent" and the Citric and Carbonic Acid Bottles on the desk or some other observable spot. Beside them place the empty 500 ml beaker (sample jar) and the stir stick or spoon. The container with the simulated urine should be hidden in a bag or left in a room away from the audience.
  2. Just prior to the presentation, the presenter takes the sample jar and the unseen "urine" to a private room and pours the mixture from the bottle into the sample container. The empty "urine" container is then again hidden.
  3. Introduce the need to conserve materials such as food and water when living in Earth orbit. Note that for short missions, all the water that is needed for the mission can be taken on the flight. Water can be transported from the Earth's surface to orbit, and all waste, including human waste, liquid and solid, can be brought back as needed. For extended missions, not all the water needed for "one time use" can be taken. Water will have to be recycled. This includes urine. At this point hold up the "urine" in the beaker and state that you will show them how this will be done. Be careful not to state what is in the beaker directly. Let the imagination of the audience carry the demonstration.
  4. State that the process of "purifying" the water in the beaker to a drinkable state requires two distinct steps. The first is the dilution of "this" fluid in the "citric and carbonic acid" - this allows the second step to be more effective. Add the fluid in the citric and carbonic acid bottle to the mixture. If anyone is observant enough to comment that the fluid you are adding looks like 7-UP or Sprite, comment that a major portion of both 7-Up and Sprite are citric and carbonic acid and that they could be used.
  5. Next, state that a biologically active agent that converts all the impurities in the "solution", except the colour, to harmless materials does the purification. It also removes any odour and any "bad taste". Open the biologically active agent container and dump the agent into the fluid. The combination of the agent to the fluid to be purified will result in active bubbling. You can make the statement that "things seem to be working". State that in normal water purification this process takes some time but that you can speed it up because of the small amount of solution and the large amount of reagent. State that stirring helps. Stir the container with the spoon.
  6. State that the process will take about 30 minutes, and ask the students to remind you to stir the solution about every 5 minutes, to ensure that the appropriate reactions take place.
  7. Over the next 30 minutes or so, stir the fluid and biological active agents. Comment that things seem to be progressing nicely.
  8. When approximately 30 minutes are up, give the fluid one last stir to ensure that the fluid will be flat. State that you will now separate the fluid and the biologically active agent by filtering it. Place the filter paper in the drinking glass and slowly pour the solution through the filter paper.
  9. Once the filtering process is complete, you quickly make the statement that "this should be purified enough to drink" and quickly drink some.
  10. State that on long haul missions in space, nothing can be wasted, so that even the biological agent needs to be recycled. Ask what the audience thinks they would do with it. Field some answers. Add "eat it" as one possible answer at the end, and quickly eat a portion of the agent.
  11. Drink all of the purified drink and continue with the lesson or discussion.

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Influence of microgravity on bone structure

Canadian Space Agency

Objective:

To demonstrate that a person grows taller in zero gravity

Materials:

  • 3 large flexible sponges (to represent the spongy tissue)
  • 4 large books (to represent vertebrae)
  • 1 large rubber band
  • 1 photo of the spine

Method:

  • Stack the books and sponges alternately.
  • Press down on the book and sponge assembly to compress it. Stretch the rubber band around the assembly to hold it in that position. The rubber band illustrates the force of gravity, which compresses the discs in the spinal column when the astronaut is on Earth.
  • Have the students measure the height of the assembly.
  • Remove the rubber band while keeping the stack upright.
  • Have the students take another measurement. Explain to students that the difference in height results from the removal of the rubber band - or, in real life, the disappearance of the Earth's gravity once the astronaut is in space.

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Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera

Canadian Space Agency

Robotically explore your neighbourhood from the sky!

Materials:

  • 1 disposable camera
  • 1 kitchen timer
  • 1 Sheet of 2.5cm thick hard-foam insulating material (about 30cm x 30cm)
  • elastic bands (lots)
  • 2 swivel hooks or fishing-leaders
  • 1 large sheet of cardboard or Bristol-board
  • several large paper-clips
  • tape
  • pencil
  • 1 doweling (about 70cm to 100cm long)
  • 1 big kite and lots of string
  • patience (lots)
  • a windy day

Tools:

  • a set of small screwdrivers
  • coping saw
  • set of drills
  • small needle-nose pliers
  • ruler

Here's How:

1. Remove the timer mechanism from its cover and open the packaging from the camera.

2. Place the camera and the timing mechanism on the foam sheet as shown.

3. Trace around the timer and the camera.

4. Mark out a rectangular outline of the payload shell

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 1

5. Using the coping saw blade cut out the payload shell. The foam cuts so easily that you'll only need to hold the blade. The saw handle is entirely optional.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 2

6. Using a drill bit make a hole in each corner of the camera slot and in the centre of the timer slot. Here again, the use of a drill is entirely optional. The foam drills so easily that the bits can be hand-held.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 3

7. Using the saw blade cut out the slots for the camera and the timer. It is bestto cut them so that the camera and the timer will fit a bit "snug" if possible.

What if the slots are a bit too big? No problem -small wedges of foam can be cut and fitted around the edges to snug things up.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 4

8. Fit the camera and the timer into the payload shell. Cut out tiny bits or shim up the gaps as required.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 5

The camera fit does not have to be too tight. Elastic bands will be used to restrain the camera. The timer, however, should fit as tightly as possible.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 6

9. Using a large paperclip and pair of needle-nose pliers, create and fit the shutter lever.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 7

10. Remove the camera from the payload shell. Drill a hole from the top of the payload shell down to where the camera's shutter button should be. Make the hole large enough to accommodate a pencil.

11. Cut the pencil so that it is about 1cm longer than is needed to reach the shutter button, and insert it (eraser end up) into the hole.

12. Install the camera.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 8

13. Cut a small slot in the eraser end of the pencil (with the coping saw blade) to hold an elastic band.

14. Stretch an elastic band around the payload shell as shown. This will hold the pencil firmly down on the shutter button of the camera.

15. Install the shutter release plate and cut it to fit so that it is free to slide entirely out from under the pencil when the timer extracts it.

Hint: Students participating in this project have discovered that the rounded graphite tip of a pencil has a very low coefficient of friction on a plastic surface (such as a credit card).

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 9

16. Attach the vertical stabilizer and locate the center of balance.

17. Install a small eye-screw at the balance point and attach the suspension string using a swivel or fishing leader.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 10

This completes your robotic camera. It is now "flight-ready". Select a clear breezy day and send your robot exploring.

Extra notes on the "Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera" activity

Note to teachers

This design is extremely easy to build. It uses inexpensive and readily available materials.

This activity can be used as a focal point for much of the mechanics (kinematics and dynamics) in secondary school physics at both the introductory and advanced levels.

For teachers who wish to integrate this activity into a semester-long project in mechanics, relevant topics have been suggested with each stage of the construction process.

It is strongly recommended that students keep a construction journal. In their journal they should write detailed notes recording all their observations, results of any experiments, and any conclusion they may have drawn from building each component of their robot, as well as all other data related to their project.

The task of building a robotically controlled, remote sensing device, attached to a moving (and a sometimes unstable) platform shares a great deal in common with the design of similar devices for spaceflight applications. It will provide your class with plenty of opportunity for experimentation and design modifications. The primary objective of this activity is to build and operate a robotic camera, and in the process of building this device, explore the physics of its design.

The robotic camera platform is suspended from a home-made (or store-bought) kite. It is able to take aerial photographs at a time programmed into its "nanobrain" prior to launch.

The altitude and direction of the aerial photograph depends upon the length of the kite string and the orientation of the camera.

The heart of our robot device is a very small, lightweight disposable camera. (Actually our camera is called a recyclable camera since it is re-loaded with film at the factory and then re-sold to the next user).

There are several types of such cameras on the market. All of them work equally well for this project.

Try to avoid the slightly more expensive disposable cameras which have a built-in flash. The distance from the camera to the ground is too far to make the flash useful under low-light conditions. The flash only serves to make the camera heavier.

In any application that involves flight -whether it's kites, balloons, or spacecraft- massis your biggest enemy! One of the great features of small disposable cameras is their truly remarkable low mass.

Our camera had a mass of only 67 grams.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 11

To keep the total mass of our robotic camera as small as possible, and to simplify construction, the framework for our project uses 2.5cm thick foam insulation.

The foam insulation is pink (although other colours are available) and has a very hard smooth surface. The interior foam has a relatively small cell structure, which makes this product very strong and very light.Hard foam insulation is available in large sheets at low cost.

Do not use white styrofoam. White styrofoam has an interior cell structure that is too coarse (big) to give the material much strength. It breaks much too easily.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 12

Information about the lifting capacity of your kite is worth knowing before you begin.

Using a set of standard masses you can test the lifting capacity of your kite. Experience has shown that kites lift payloads best when the payload is attached about 2 to 3 metres from the kite's attachment point to the kite string.

If your kite can lift a mass of 250 grams it will fly this robotic camera.

Kite designs vary greatly. While some designs have a lot of lift, others have better flying characteristics and greater stability.

Explore your kite's lifting capacity as a function of wind speed. Explore other kite designs.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 13

Of course a robot wouldn't be a robot if it did not have some level of intelligence. Our robot is not very smart, it only "knows" that after a certain amount of time has elapsed that it is supposed to trip the shutter of the camera.

Our robot's brain (we'll call it a "nanobrain" since it's not very smart) is a small mechanical timer extracted from a cheap kitchen timer. It can be set for time delays up to 60 minutes.

A "smarter" robot could be equipped with an electronic timer or even contain a micro-computer with on-board sensing devices that would cue the robot to take pictures of specific objects or under certain conditions.

Our timers (two of them shown in the photo) cost exactly two dollars each (plus tax) from the kitchenware department of a discount store.

You will need to remove the fancy casing from the timer. Simply pull off the dial and remove the small screws from the back. The timer will simply fall out.

A set of small hobby screwdrivers is required because the screws that hold the timer in the case are quite small.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 14

Once the timer has been extracted from its case it is ready to use.The nanobrain (timer) needs to be set up so that it can release the camera's shutter at the appropriate time. This is accomplished by building a shutter-release mechanism as illustrated.

Details of how to install it are shown later, but the basic concept is illustrated here.

An old plastic credit card makes a very good shutter release plate. It is light, strong, and most importantly, it has a low coefficient of friction (it is very slippery).

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 15

It is useful to investigate the following topics that relate to this design:

  1. Causes of friction;
  2. Coefficients of static and kinetic friction;
  3. Methods of reducing friction.

The centre of the timer looks similar to the diagram given here. A lever-arm can easily be attached using wire from a straightened paper clip. A pair of needle-nose pliers is helpful.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 16

Setting up the mechanism to trip the shutter of the camera requires a bit of careful planning.

Examine the diagram carefully. Note the alignment of the various components.

Elastic bands are used extensively in this project. Have lots of them available.

The key idea is to use the shutter release plate to prevent the shutter post from pushing down on the shutter button of the camera. The diagram to the left illustrates this.

As the timer un-winds (in a counter-clockwise direction) the wire arm gradually extracts the shutter release plate from underneath the shutter post, which will then push down on the camera's shutter button.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 17

To set the timer delay, simply rotate the timer (centre). Use the original dial and then remove it once the timer is "set".

Test your design carefully to ensure that it functions as you predict. Make whatever adjustments are needed.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 18

In understanding the function and operation of the timer, and how it extracts the shutter release, consider the following topics:

  • Torque;
  • Measuring torque;
  • Increasing the force applied to the shutter release plate;
  • Gears;
  • Levers.

The flight payload is flown suspended from a kite.

The payload package must be designed so that it is both aerodynamically stable and extremely light. (See below).

In order to minimize any interference with the flight characteristic of the kite, the payload should be flown at least two metres from the kite. Testing your kitewith a simulated payload prior to an actual robotic flight is both helpful and instructive.

Swivel hooks (or fishing leaders) are required to prevent unwanted kinks and knots from forming in the kite and payload strings.

Most important

Remember: Never fly a kite where there is the slightest chance of it coming into contact with overhead wires or when there is any risk of lightning.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 19

Aerodynamic Stability

The camera assembly is suspended on a long wooden (or plastic) dowel of about 1 metre in length(Not to scale in the diagram).

A large cardboard or Bristol-board fin (called avertical stabilizer) is attached to the opposite end of the doweling so that it acts as a weather-vane, pointing the camera into to wind, as illustrated.

In order to minimize any interference with the flight characteristic of the kite, the payload should be flown at least two metres from the kite. Testing your kite with a simulated payload prior to an actual robotic flight is both helpful and instructive.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 20

To fully appreciate the design, the following topics should be investigated:

  • The moment of inertia for a long uniform solid rod;
  • Centre of pressure (as related to air flow) over and around an airplane or fin;
  • Centre of mass;
  • The relationship between centre of mass and centre of pressure as related to aerodynamic stability.

The camera can be "aimed" to take photos in different directions relative to the direction of the wind.

Be careful about causing changes in the "centre of pressure" when the robotic camera is aligned to take photos at right angles to the wind direction. Be certain that the fin is big enough!

The centre of aerodynamic pressure (on the side of the payload) must always be behind the centre of balance.

Build a Directly Controlled Robotic Camera 21

If you fly your kite in extremely turbulent winds some additional stability can be produced by adding a horizontal stabilizer, but this will be at the expense of additional payload mass. Our payload did not require it.

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