21 April 2009

Solving a couple of problems with glass jars and tin cans

Well, we now know what (or should I say who?) a Stig is.  Stig lives in a dark, smoky shelter in a corner of the chalk pit.  He collects and re-uses the things that have been thrown away into the bottom of the pit.  Ask someone in Class 2i to tell you how he used the mudguard of a bicycle and the tube of a vacuum cleaner to collect his drinking water!

One day, Barney gathered together some things that his grandmother no longer wanted; glass jam jars and empty tin cans.


He thought that Stig might be able to use them for storing things.  He was quite annoyed therefore, when Stig, fascinated to discover how to use a tin-opener…..


proceeded to take off all the bottoms of the tins.  “You’ve spoiled all the tins now!  You can’t keep things in tins with no bottoms!”  What was the use of a lot of tin tubes with no ends?

Remembering what it was like in the shelter (dark and full of smoke) we wondered how the tin ‘tubes’ and empty glass jars might be used to solve those two problems.

Aabis thought about the problem of the cave being dark.  Maybe Stig and Barney would ‘put the cans out in line from Stig’s house and then the light of the sun will come in and it will go in the glass which is held up on a rope, and reflect.’

Quentin suggested that they could ‘take two sticks, make a fire and put the jar over the fire and make a light.’  I wonder…..

Ryoma would put a candle in one of the jars.  A similar effect - perhaps!

Amelia was rather more creative in her thoughts.  ‘Put a jar in the roof, catch some glow worms and put three in each jar.’


Dylan would make a hole in the side of the cave and put the jar in the hole so that the light shines through.

Tommy had a similar plan for making the cave brighter.  ‘Dig a hole to outside through the wall.  Put glass jars in the hole…..then get some fire and melt the jars to make a window.’  Hmm!

He also felt he could solve the problem of the smoke.  ‘Put the cans together and the smoke goes up the tube through the roof.’

Shahrbano too felt that they could ‘take the cans and glue them together to make a chimney.’


Martin and Virginia also would use the tins to solve the smoke problem.  They would make a hole in the roof, stick the tins together and put them in the hole to take the smoke out.


Of course, you will have to read the book to find out how close we got to the way in which Barney and Stig solved the problems.  What I will say, however, is that some of us weren’t far wrong!

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