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Chain Reaction

In this article you can learn how to facilitate a playful chain reaction activity with your child.

Chain Reaction is a playful and creative way to learning about cause and effect that helps build a range of skills, including problem solving and creative thinking and teamwork skills if you do it with others.

The object of the chain reaction is to build a series of things that move and create a domino effect across a table (or wherever you choose to set it up). Here is a step by step guide for creating your own chain reaction!

  • Gather a few things around the house that you have a feeling might be useful for this task – things that roll or things that fall over.
  • Start with a couple of LEGO bricks or a similar object like small wood blocks. Place 2 of them so they are their tallest, close to each other and push one brick that makes the second brick tumble down.
  • Next, you can expand the chain a little by adding 2 more bricks or blocks and see if you can make all 4 tumble by hitting the first one.
  • Now, make the chain even longer by adding everyday objects to the chain reaction. Remember that this is all about exploration and experimentation and “first tries” may not topple over the whole chain. Keep trying again until you get it. Consider placing the objects differently or find something else to add to the chain.
  • Keep expanding the chain in length and complexity and, if you are with other people, work together or connect your individual chains into a longer chain reaction.

Remember that there’s no one right way to build your chain reaction. You can start with a couple of objects or set an ambition of where you want it to end! Most importantly, iterate on your ideas, test what works, and make changes based on those tests until you succeed.

Keen to do more chain reactions? Visit the tinkering studio for further inspiration: Go to Exploratorium.edu

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