When you hear the history and formation of Newton's Attic, you realize that this is precisely the case with this business. Bill Cloyd began as a young boy on a farm gathering useful, undervalued materials and testing the bounds of physics. As a teenager he perfected his free fall by building an 80 foot tower using his neighbors' unwanted TV antennae and a circus net. Soon after he built a human catapult and practiced launching people into a nearby pond.
The drive and ambition of Cloyd could not be confined to the small space of a classroom. As a mechanical engineering major, it seemed like a good fit to try teaching, but Cloyd soon discovered that his passion for physics was larger than the space allowed. Cloyd felt compelled to start Newton's Attic, a non-profit educational resource that utilizes fun, excitement, and PLAYING as learning tools.
So that is the back story of Newton's Attic, but let me tell you about our experience there. As a mother who is used to saying, "Don't touch that! Stop child, you might break something," it was refreshing to hear that my children could tinker with the physics toys and robots on site. "They can touch everything except the table saw," is what we were told.
During the two hours that we were visiting, my children ages 3-10 were able to build and launch small rockets, play with a robotic arm, ride a roller coaster, and use an enormous catapult to shoot a weedeater and toaster across the field. As all you mothers of young sons can imagine, watching an appliance fly through the air and then crash into pieces was sheer joy!
The staff and the equipment totally engaged our children and built into their minds and spirits. The Newton's Attic helpers (and family) were kind, informative, and inclusive to all the members of our group.
The Newton's Attic experience was summed up for me by a brief phrase I heard after the successful weedeater launch. As the kids ran across the open space to retrieve the busted up parts and pieces, I heard one of the staffers remark candidly to the owner, "Is that weedeater string? I might need that for something." Physics at Newton's attic is limited only by your creativity (and the laws of physics). We can only imagine what project will be next...
If you want to learn more about the options offered by Newton's Attic, please visit their web site and tell them we sent you!