Flying Umbrella (LED helicopter toy) Pk/10 TS0228
Throughout the world there are species of trees that have evolved and adapted various method of seed dispersal thus ensuring that the species continues to survive. While many plants and trees rely on birds to disperse their seeds other rely on the wind.
The Cottonwood tree disperses its seeds by producing almost weightless fluff which carries a multitude of seeds for many kilometres.
Other plants produce sticky seeds or seeds with hooks and spikes, and these seeds cling to the fur of animals and are dispersed as animal graze.
Interestingly many species have developed helicopter type adaptations (whirlybirds) that result in seeds being dispersed widely as a result of wind and the spinning nature of the winged seeds.
This ingenious evolutionary method of seed dispersal can be observed in the Maple, Olive, Ash and Protea family of trees and shrubs.
For a wider analysis of the topic consider the following link from the BBC nature series http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/adaptations/Seed_dispersal
The LED Flying Umbrella/ helicopter is a toy. However implicit in its design and operation are several educational aspects;
· The stretchy rubber band used to propel the toy upward demonstrates the concept of potential energy
· The flashing LED lights characterise the application of simple electronic circuitry.
· The nature of the folded blades, emulates the spinning action of seeds as they descend to earth.
How to operate the toy. (The toy has a coloured plastic body, Red and Blue flashing LED, rubber band and a battery.)
Fold the blades into a spiral shape.
Hold the tail of the toy with one hand whilst stretching the rubber band tightly with the other hand.
Only direct the toy upward away from any bystanders.
Release the toy and it will be propelled upward by approximately 20 metres.
After reaching its highest point the toy will spin slowly down to earth whilst flashing with red and blue light. Best observed at night when the LED light are most effective.
Use only in open areas away from roofs and trees.