Marble Run 2 | Metaphor Machines

Above me is the final product for my most recent Scimatics project ‘Metaphor Machines’ here is how it went.

For our final product I was put in a group with Zach, Ben, and Declan.

The final product in question was creating a Rube Goldberg Machine that functions as a metaphor for the scientific method. The machine would be created using wood, a marble, and a lot of hot glue. We also had to incorporate a circuit with a lightbulb into our Rube Goldberg Machine.

In order to do this we needed to learn 3 things:

  1. Learn how to make a circuit
  2. Learn how to make a blueprint
  3. Learn how to make a Rube Goldberg Machine

To learn how to make circuits (and on the side, the scientific method more) we did a lot of labs. First we tested Ohms law, then we created a series circuit, then a parallel circuit. Here is my Lab 1 for reference:

Then we had to learn how to make blueprints, specifically accurate ones. It was mostly about scaling, for example: a drawing of a computer on grid paper covers a 3×5 space on the grid. Each square unit on the grid is 5 inches in real life. So we had to go 3×5 and 5×5. We then find that the 3×5 units on the grid paper is 15×25 inches in real life, big computer. This is important because we had to scale all the wood and cardboard that would be used in our Rube Goldberg Machine, speaking of:

This was pretty fun to make. Its a pretty simple machine, just some ledges and a mario-esque pipe. Though its still really fun to do. The process of building was cutting some wood in the woodworking room:

Then glueing it to the board. This used a lot of trial and error, but we managed to figure it out and create a successful machine. Here is a photo of our machine and blueprint for comparison:

Reasoning and Analyzing:

In terms of accurate diagrams and blueprints I think we accomplished that goal. Our blueprint had a legend clear instructions of what our machine was going to be. Some measurement lengths were forgotten to be written but apart from that it was a good blueprint.

Planning and Comducting:

For what is arguably the most important part, the circuits. Our series circuit worked pretty well in our machine and the lightbulb served as part of our metaphor. We planned everything out through said blueprints and tested all our ideas on paper before making any permanent decisions.

Scientific Communication:

Using correct scientific language, is either something I do really easily or struggle with. I struggled with it fir this project a bit, but I think thats because we went for spring break and then after that was just building and less learning. So while I understand the concepts my use of vocabulary could be better.

As you saw above we made a video to showcase it all! I really like our video, it showcases the machine and explains what each sections represents for the scientific method with windy voice overs.

For this projects driving questions of: “How can we represent the scientific method?” and “What factors affect the function and efficiency of electric circuits” I have this to say:

We can represent the scientific method in many ways but I think the best way is through the progression of a puzzle or pathway, in this case a Rube Goldberg Machine. If we are able to progress through it we can assign each stage to a specific point in the machine, which allows for a lot of creativity which im sure you’ll find by going through everyones blogs for this project.

I think for the second question, the type of circuit it is definitely impacts the function and efficiency. For a house, parallel circuits are probably more efficient when powering home supplies, as parallel circuits provide less power than series circuits, you can shut off each current individually. The amount of devices also make an impact, the more devices there are the more power has to be distributed.

To conclude this project, I really liked working on it and learning about circuits. Its something I’ve always found interesting but haven’t pursued any knowledge on. As I mentioned previously it was a bit hard to retain information gained because of spring break cutting through the middle of it, but I think a successful project was made. 


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