4th, 5th (a)

Eli Whitney Museum

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Simple Machines

Simple Machine 2013

Whitney demonstrated the power of machines to guide and ease work. The screws, threads, levers and pulleys of this machine organize effort into power you can feel. Students assemble interchangeable parts and invent a personality for their machine.

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Rubber Band Car

Rubber Band Car

Students construct cars powered by rubber bands and measure their performance after 20 minutes of practice. Lively insights into the mechanics, measurement and math of motion. Great for a followup program on creative elaboration. New design now employs wheels of diameter 1/π.

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Catapult

happy-birds

Explore the ancient and challenging mechanics of catapults. Rubber bands power this model. Safe for people and places when used with the ping pong ball provided. Make Happy Birds and fling them with accuracy.

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Pinball Machine

Pinball Machine  thumbnail

A popular project that teaches game design (beginnings, middles and ends), logic (rewards for difficulty), marble movement (caroms, momentum) and creative design (good games must still attract players.) A rare exploration of the work of play.

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Machine Design: The Vocabulary of Motion

Choreographing Action
Machine Design:  The Vocabulary of Motion thumbnail

A basic vocabulary of movements controls every mechanical device. Leonardo daVinci identified and drew the most important of these. Learn one of three classic arrangements to control the direction, speed and shape of movement. Invent an artful application for your device. Then, connect yours to someone else's machine and let them work together with a set or series of pulleys to combine movement and meaning.

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