Tuesday, June 16, 2015

3rd Grade Machine Brains

Think about the game of Mousetrap. Do you actually know how to play it? NOBODY DOES. It's a fact that not a single child in the history of kids has ever played Mousetrap by the rules. You build the whole trap and play with it until you get it just right. When you get bored, you get a snack and move on to another activity. 

This lesson takes the essence of Mousetrap and turns it into a sweet art project. The entire project is based on the cartoon drawings of Rube Goldberg. If you're not familiar with him, he was a cartoonist who is most famous for his sequential "machines" that were created to intentionally make a simple action incredibly complex. 
My students are tasked with coming up with Rube Goldberg style machine that controls something that happens in their head. Think of things like seeing, hearing, burping, etc. In addition to the Rube Goldberg inspiration, students also study the six simple machines and incorporate at least four of them into their work. 

The machines that students create are incredibly inventive. I laugh out loud at some of the hilarious sequential steps that they create. The final work is about 95% construction paper- a great way to use up old scraps. 

This is the artist statement that goes along with the artwork above it. 


jackaaronfleming said...

What was your process for your students to draw their silhouette?

Zach Stoller said...

Good question. I have a projector that points at a screen/dry erase board at the front of the room. I have it project a white slide so it's really just a glorified flashlight. I have kids stand right in front of the board and I quickly trace their shadows onto 12x18 paper. I can usually knock out all of the silhouettes in one class period while they are brainstorming.

ArtMuse said...

I love this project I think it really challenges the kids to think creatively and problem solve. The collage that they did is really complex too!

Mrs. Nguyen said...

I love this project! Very cool!