Tinker Crate – Fiber Optic Stars

  Our new Tinker Crate came in recently, and we were excited to find that it was an astronomy theme – Fiber Optic Stars! This was way cool, and two sixth graders had a really great time collaborating and cooperatively putting this thing together. Because it was astronomy, I had a great time cheering them on.

Here is their progress in captioned photos:

I immediately heard, Coooool! Constellations!
Materials. We opened the instructions pamphlet and dug in. I love Tinker Crate‘s step-by-step instructions because they include illustrations that make it easy for the kids to put it together – that helps me so that I don’t always have to stand over their shoulders.
Prepping the wires to create an electrical current.
Don't cut the red wire! Just kidding.
Don’t cut the red wire! Just kidding.
Connecting the LED light bulb.
Connecting the LED light bulb.
All electrical pieces now put together. They already feel like electricians.

Oh yea.. the batteries.
Oh yea.. the batteries.
Success! Now they really feel like electricians.
Success! Now they really feel like electricians.
Now for the box. I love that Tinker Crate has simple diagrams.
Now for the box. I love that Tinker Crate has simple diagrams.
Looking over the directions on how to put the box together. To be honest, this was the most confusing part.
Looking over the directions on how to put the box together. To be honest, this was the most confusing part.
But the step by step instructions were very helpful.
But the step by step instructions were very helpful.
Now for putting the electrical unit into the correct spots.
Now for putting the electrical unit into the correct spots.
Following the diagram, once again, helped for these novices.
Following the diagram, once again, helped for these novices.
Success yet again!
Success yet again!
Now to be an Astronomer.
Now to be an Astronomer.
They chose which constellation they wanted to put on this particular foam board.
They chose which constellation they wanted to put on this particular foam board.
Orion was the winner. They took the provided thumbtack and poked holes into the foam board following the diagram.
Orion was the winner. They took the provided thumbtack and poked holes into the foam board following the diagram.

Then they used the provided white crayon and connected the dots. We decided to bring out my book of constellations to help with connecting the dots (this book is awesome, I highly recommend. Click on the picture to take you to the link.)
Then they used the provided white crayon and connected the dots. We decided to bring out my book of constellations to help with connecting the dots (at the bottom of this post, I’ll link to a few great books).
Sketching the constellation.
Sketching the constellation.
This was great for concentration and fine-tuning their pincer grasps.
Now they needed to push the optical fibers through the tiny holes. This was great for concentration and fine-tuning their pincer grasps.
Until all of the holes have been filled.
Until all of the holes have been filled.
Then pushing the optical fibers through until they are only sticking out of the backside.
Holding it up to the window, the kids could already start to see the light shining through. 
To make sure the fibers stay put, the kit provides glue. Here, the student uses the thumbtack to set the glue around each hole.

Until each hole has glue, then we set it out to dry. This takes a couple of hours to fully set dry, but after about an hour and a half, we couldn't wait.
Until each hole has glue, then we set it out to dry. This takes a couple of hours to fully set dry, but after about an hour and a half, we couldn’t wait.
I don't have photos of the process of putting the optical fibers into the box, but we used a provided cable tie to keep them together, then we clipped the ends so it wasn't as long.
I don’t have photos of the process of putting the optical fibers into the box, but we used a provided cable tie to keep them together, then we clipped the ends so it wasn’t as long.
We opened the lid again, switched the light on, then closed the lid. The LED light shines directly into the tips of the fibers on the inside of the box, which illuminates all the way through.... and....
We opened the lid again, switched the light on, then closed the lid. The LED light shines directly into the tips of the fibers on the inside of the box, which illuminates all the way through…. and….
Here it is set up in a dark room. If the room had been darker, we would have seen it better, but this was pretty awesome.
Here it is set up in a dark room. If the room had been darker, we would have seen it better, but this was pretty awesome.
And what's even better, the kids loved it.
And what’s even better, the kids loved it.


About Miranda

* Pisces. Eclectic. Indigo. Mother. Wife. Teacher. Herbalist. Scientist. Fantasy. Outdoors. Ocean. Crafty. Dreamer. * Found out more in the About section.

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