Posted in biology, chemistry, education, engineering

Four toys that made science possible

Following along yesterday’s toy theme, I wanted to pay homage to toys in general and how they’ve contributed to science. People consider toys an artform (sometimes), so I figured why not.

From Scientific American: Advances in science and technology can launch from unassuming springboards. In 1609 Galileo tweaked a toylike spyglass, pointed it at the moon and Jupiter (not the neighbors), and astronomy took a quantum leap. About 150 years later, Benjamin Franklin reportedly used a kite to experiment with one of the earliest-known electrical capacitors. Continuing that tradition, these researchers prove toys inspire more than child’s play.

LEGO IN THE LAB: Because Legos are easy to reconfigure, they are an engrossing plaything for kids--and a pragmatic tool for Johns Hopkins researchers, who used the toy to create a "lab on a chip" of sorts.

Their top picks: etch-a-sketch, legos, shrinky-dink, and the balloon within a balloon.

They’ve totally forgotten about Slinky.

Read the full article



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.