February 02, 2007

License Plate Matching Game!

SO, anyway, about that circuit board for Catherine.

A simple thing with aluminum foil strips across the back that are supposed to connect answers to questions. You find out if you're right if you hold a little flashlight bulb and battery holder to the two ends of the strips, completing the circuit.

You can match state capitals or math answers or such things--the questions and answer type themselves aren't really the point of the exercise so much as figuring out electricity.

Or so I thought.

Anyway, we sat down and went over some possible things to ask, and she finally settled on license plates. Should be simple--find some plate images on the Internets, cut out some pictures, stick 'em on the board, write in the states, and fix the back with aluminum foil strips.

Of course, being Creatively Anal-Rententive Daddy, I immediately began trying to figure out the best way I could make an 'A' on this project, and so got on the computer and made a simple 2x6 table in Word with a nice border, and in each cell put a circle and a corresponding number and letter beside each. This was then spray-mounted onto a nice piece of foamcore board I had at the office so it would be nice and rigid.

Now, for the contacts--what I thought would be a very slick looking addition, that being brass paper brads pushed through the face of the board and unfolded on the back. That way, no punching of holes, and the brads would give a bigger surface to use for the battery leads. And they're nice and conductive.

Brought home my handiwork and was immediately rebuffed by Catherine, who noted that the foamcore was NOT poster board, and that there had been NO punching of holes into it. "How are you going to punch holes with those round metal things in the way?"

"No, sugar--look, they're metal, and they'll conduct electricity even better than sticking a battery wire through a hole and trying to touch a strip of aluminum foil in a hole."

She was dubious. And to make matters worse, she went and told the teacher on me, and came home Wednesday and said, "She said you should just do it the way it is on the instructions."


Thankfully, I was still able to make it relatively cool through the use of the Acme Licence Plate Maker. I found this quite by accident, but was sold on it when I figured out I could black out the names of the states and then personalize the plates with little clues based on her name.

I made several so she could pick the ones she wanted, but they all had variations of her nickname at the end. SO, they wound up looking like this (in case you need help, the answers are in the extended entry):

A plate1.jpg

B plate2.jpg

C plate3.jpg

D plate4.jpg

E plate5.jpg

F plate6.jpg

Last night was the night to finish the construction. The previous day she'd haphazardly cut out the paper license plates (yes, I know I should have just cut and pasted them on the computer, but there HAD to be something in the project that looked like a kid did it, and trust me, she's like a marmoset on meth with scissors, so it looked age-appropropriate) then we stuck everything down with sticky photo tabs, and after I found and purchased a set of hole punchers, we (i.e., I) carefully punched the holes. The strips were last, and each was taped on the back and the end result looked quite attractive. And to add to the kid-assisted nature of the whole thing, Catherine grabbed a pencil while I wasn't looking and scrawled a giant "LISENSE PLATE'S MATCHING BOARD" legend directly above the neatly computer-scribed "Catherine’s License Plate Matching Game!" 18 point, Impact font title I'd put on there.

"Why'd you do that!? It HAS a title on it!"

Who knows. But we left it on there.

Anyway, as I said, I better get an A.

A) Alabama (her school's mascot is the Husky); B) Idaho; C) Louisiana; D) Wisconsin; E) Arizona; F) Tennessee

Posted by Terry Oglesby at February 2, 2007 01:48 PM

Those are great license plates, and you did a good job on the "clues." I missed the Arizona one--guess the "Grand Canyon State" probably should have told me it was Arizona, but I thought it might be Colorado.

If you DON'T get an A that teacher must grade on the curve--and what kind of an elementary school would THAT be?

Posted by: Stan at February 2, 2007 03:19 PM

They switched us all to a different Tennessee plate this year, so you're a bit out of date. But silly old dad, trying to do a good job on this sort of thing...

Posted by: Jordana at February 2, 2007 03:24 PM

Jordana, there are probably several I made up that are out of date--I know Alabama just went to a new plate design, and Georgia's is different, too, I think. But, hey--I'm a victim of the Internets.

Stan, I think Catherine's favorite (it's not on this list) was HULACAT.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at February 2, 2007 03:35 PM

That license plate site seems to be a bit behind. The MD and RI offerings a bit out of date too.

Posted by: steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve) at February 3, 2007 01:02 PM

Well, it's kinda like Possumblog--it's free, and worth every penny.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at February 5, 2007 08:36 AM