Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What Does STEM Look Like in the Children's Room this Summer? Week 2

Our Mad Scientist Monday for this week was dedicated to cartoonist and "inventor", Rube Goldberg. I just learned that he did not actually create these machines but rather drew these silly contraptions only on paper. What an influence he has had! There's a challenge devoted to him every year hosted by high schools and colleges all over the county. You can sponsor your own teen team at your library or encourage them to apply to the international online contest. Each year has a goal such as apply toothpaste to a toothbrush and the kids are invited to make their own contraptions to accomplish the goal. Having an open experimental day like ours would be a great introduction to forming your team.

Set up:  Thanks to our iPads we featured a video with 75 Rube Goldberg Ideas to explain our vision. We also downloaded the official game, Rubeworks app ($2.99 for the iPad).  Each level features an animated cartoon Rube Goldberg challenge like squeeze an orange for orange juice with suggested objects to make the machine.
Challenges: Different physical challenges were placed around the room to get the creative juices flowing. Challenges included: make something that: pushes a car, destroys a building, grabs a tissue, knocks down pins, swats a bug, draws something on paper, and puts a ball into a cup. Keep in mind the space of the area you are willing to devote to this. We had spread it out to the entire children's room which made it problematic if anyone was actually trying to get books!

Materials List: cardboard tubes, pulleys, rope, tape, marbles, KEVA planks, Legos, dulpos, magnets, dominoes, styrofoam tubing, cardboard boxes, tennis balls, fly swatter, bowling pins, scissors, toy cars, crayons, paper, and solo cups.

I was amazed with the problem solving and patience the kids had. This was a great program for inter-generational opportunities with whole families working together. The parents and grandparents were hands on the entire time, with kids integrating them into their inventions. If something didn't work, it was easy to prompt with questions like maybe you need a heavier ball to propel the ball faster.

Check out our vimeo video to see all the ingenious inventions:

Mad Scientist Monday: Rube Goldberg from Duxbury Free Library on Vimeo.

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