Some of Our Classroom Activities

·        In our classroom we investigated the life of Rube Goldberg.  Goldberg is famous for making contraptions that made simple tasks more difficult.  We viewed some of Goldberg’s drawings and the children set out to create their own contraptions. They were asked to think of a simple task and make it more difficult using at least ten steps.  Children were encouraged to use their knowledge of Newton’s Three Laws and simple machines.

Rube Goldberg Activities Link (drawings and descriptions of children’s work).

http://www.rube-goldberg.com/html/gallery.htm  Rube’s Cartoons

http://www.rube-goldberg.com/html/contest.htm    Contest Info

http://www.geocities.com/MadisonAvenue/Newsstand/7000/tips-9.html  Teacher’s Tips for Rube Designs

·        We also looked at examples of simple machines that we found around our homes or in our classroom.  We discussed how these machines allow us to expend less energy.  We also used the Milton Bradley game Mousetrap.

·        In order to explore Newton’s Laws of Motion, we used an activity called Huff and Puff.  Students were given a ball of paper, a pencil, and a block of wood.  They were asked to predict how far each object would move from one strong blow.  Students then measured actual results.  Students were encouraged to explore blowing the objects from different positions.  They also were asked to see what differed when different people blew.  Findings were charted and different questions were explored and answered.

·        In exploring static charge, we charged combs to pick up salt, pepper and paper.  In addition, we built circuits to explore electric energy.  The children really enjoyed using energy balls, which facilitated the students’ understanding of series and parallel circuits.

·        In addition to our classroom activities we viewed two movies on inventors and innovation in preparation for our Language Arts biography unit.  These videos were obtained free of charge from the Lemelson Center (www.vpw.com).

Helpful Books or Resources