Deflectors and Understanding Angle of Incidence
What is a deflector, and what does it do?
Deflectors are one of our customers’ favorite ramp accessories, but once in a while a teacher comes into possession of a Deflector they didn’t originally order, and they call us to ask what is it? what does it do? why do I have this? If you’ve found yourself wondering lately what your Deflector is, or how to best put it to use in your classroom, then you’ve come to the right place!
To the unfamiliar eye, a Deflector might look like a typical loose part for your construction area, and while it is that, it is also so much more! The Deflector was designed originally to support your ramp systems – it’s even an included component in our Discovery Ramp Deluxe Kit! The idea behind the deflector is that the rubber band “walls” provide a bouncy surface that can be used to change the path of a moving object (most often balls that are being rolled along ramps). Children can experiment with the angle of incidence to adjust the direction their balls roll after bouncing off the Deflector Walls. The open-ended nature of the Deflector’s design also makes it a wonderful tool for children to use as tunnels, structural supports, or for other purposes to suit their creative needs.
The Inspiration Behind the Deflector’s Creation
Chris Hume, Kodo’s founder, was inspired one day while watching his son playing “Angry Birds”. His son was good at the game but was having difficulty when it came to bouncing his birds off of walls to direct them to hit certain parts of the towers he was trying to knock down. So, recognizing that the issue was with comprehending angles of incidence, Chris fashioned a prototype Deflector for his son to experiment with in real life. After a few attempts at adjusting the angle to make rolling balls change course, the concept was understood. This real life, father-son moment led to the creation of our popular Deflector Kit!
Deflectors are very easy and very quick to assemble. Each kit comes with components for four deflectors – 8 wooden arms and 12 rubber bands. Two arms slot together to form a cross, and then three rubber bands are stretched around the arms to form a square box with rubber band walls. We recommend evenly spacing the rubber bands out to provide a nice, large surface area for deflection.
Adding accessories to your ramp systems increases the opportunity for children to exercise design thinking skills. The more parts you have, the more combinations there are for creating complex structures! We recommend these following loose parts to add to your ramps systems: