Thursday, October 24, 2013

Super Secret Science Challenge FOUR

This week, field agents Misty, Sunshine and The Weather Weasel have been captured by the evil Mr. Fluffy. They need to build a super complicated, crazy contraption to distract the villain before he can use his Puppinator to change all of the world's dogs into cats!

This week's materials are:

  • 6-4x6 and 2-3x5 Index cards 
  • 3 dixie cups 
  • 4 bamboo skewers 
  • assorted cardboard (corrugated and chipboard) 
  • 6 feet of twine 
  • 10 paper clips 
  • 10 assorted rubber bands 
  • 2 marbles 
  • 1 ping pong ball 
  • 3 toilet paper tubes 
  • 1 balloon 
  • 4 drinking straws 
  • 4 pipe cleaners 
  • 2 clothes pins 
  • 10 tongue depressors 
  • 1 disposable spoon 
  • masking tape and scotch tape 
This week's challenge encourages students to build a Rube Goldberg Machines. These contraptions are designed to make simple tasks much more complicated, often with silly results. Aside from being tremendously creative projects that are a lot of fun to build, Rube Goldberg Machines also give students the opportunity to explore simple machines.

Simple machines -- such as inclined planes, levers, wheels and axles, pulleys, wedges and screws -- are mechanical tools that make work easier by changing the direction or amount of force used to complete a task. We use simple machines every day, and when we combine them, we can create complex machines. Challenge older students to identify examples of simple machines within their crazy contraption.

Have fun! And please, don't hesitate to share your pictures of your machines!

We'll be back next week with another Super Secret Science Challenge. You can take the challenge at Kaleidoscope, or bring it to your school or club!

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