|This is an example of the artist statement I have my students do after each project. |
This one is unusually long due the fact that I have each student write an explanation
for how their machines work. It goes along with the image above it.
I start by introducing Rube Goldberg with a Keynote presentation. I'll put a link to that presentation at the bottom by the lesson plan link. For those of you who may not be familiar with Rube Goldberg, he was a cartoonist who had also been trained as an engineer. He was famous for creating drawings of complicated machines that did really simple tasks. My students absolutely love looking at these machines.
We then talk about the six different kinds of simple machines (inclined plane, wheel & axel, wedge, pulley, screw, lever) and look at examples of each. The best part of the presentation comes next when I show videos that people have posted on YouTube of Rube Goldberg style machines that they have made at home. The best example is a music video by OK GO. Check it out-->
Each student then designs a machine using at least four of the simple machines to replace their brain. The machine is supposed to do something that happens in their head (blinking, yawning, remembering, making boogers, etc.). I really emphasize using logic in their machines. We go through several sketches in order to make sure the machines make sense. The rest of the project is dedicated to the kids using construction paper scraps (it's a great way to use up scraps) to create their machine on final paper. My students love the project and it really gets them to use their brains (pun intended)!
See the lesson plan here!
See the presentation here!
**I don't usually upload the presentations I do because the files are often pretty big. This file is a .mov file that can be downloaded from google docs and navigated with the arrow buttons on the computer. It includes the Goldberg images, simple machines, and three videos. If you look at it directly from google docs, the slides at the beginning go really fast. You need to download it in order to have control of the speed of the slides. If it doesn't work for some reason, let me know and I'll try to troubleshoot and come up with a solution that works.