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Volunteers helped make statues walk

Reality often presents problems for people with creative ideas like having statues move. Basic laws of physics can make such movement a little clumsy sometimes. However, the clumsiness did not stop us from having fun testing the limits of moveable solid geometric construction for First Friday last week at Kump Education Center.

We have been very lucky to have the help of two anonymous carpenters who volunteered to help us create our movable solid geometric shapes to suggest ancient works of art and architecture. Our two remarkable woodworkers constructed a three-sided pyramid that can be taken apart and stored flat. They made a sphinx with the rectangular body of a lion and a cube to represent the head of a woman. Our Sphinx is not just a blockhead; she can change her mind and transform her head into a sphere. The carpenters also made a wooden Atlas with arms and legs that can contort into a wide variety of positions.

It really made a difference to have three energetic AmeriCorps members who figured out how to make Atlas walk. Erin Crooks, Sarah Volkman, and Victoria Kyle helped our mythical Titan walk away from the world that the Greek gods had forced him to hold on his shoulders. Our three resource volunteers forced his wingnut joints to cooperate when Atlas marched through the room.

Solid geometry statues can move and change in many ways, and they can be made of a variety of materials. The youngest visitors to our exhibit liked moving our Sphinx made of a 1 x 2 foot hollow wooden box with various smaller shapes to represent the legs. By putting the legs under the box in different ways they could create different animals or buildings. The head could be a sphere when they could find a ball of the right size.

Jeanne Johnson and Lucinda Barrick showed students from the Elkins Mountain School how to make pyramids and cubes by folding paper. The students also had fun finding out what was inside the belly of our Atlas. They could see that the square plastic tubs would fit tighter than round tubs and pack more cookies and candy into the space inside Atlas. Volume is another solid geometry consideration involving inside spaces.

Volunteers are the reason that hands-on children’s activities are so much fun and such great learning opportunities for kids. We could not operate at Kump Education Center without our wonderful volunteers.

Debbie Fincham, Judy Guye, KJ Shaffer, and Bob Wilmoth are KEC Board Members who were among the volunteers helping make magic happen at Kump Education Center for First Friday visitors last week.

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